Victory lap: Weekly Message for 04-02-2024

Dear Friends in Christ,

Easter should bring lots of joy, which is one reason the Church spends a full eight days celebrating it.

The Easter octave Masses reflect the festive tone, with their plethora of Alleluias and Glorias.

And yet, the Gospel accounts themselves seem oddly understated about the Resurrection. No one is recorded to have seen it, and Jesus’ appearances are curiously subdued.

Instead of a revenge being wreaked on Pilate and certain religious elders, we read of low-key encounters in gardens and humble meals of bread and fish on shorelines. Not exactly the stuff of epic poems.

Still, the resurrection drives home the point that Jesus is indeed God and that Good Friday wasn’t the end of him.

What the Resurrection didn’t do was suddenly make the world an Eden-like paradise.

For corruption and weakness remained. Note the Jerusalem authorities who bribed the Roman guards to lie about the reason for the empty tomb. Or the apostle Thomas, who doubted that Jesus was alive. Or the skeptics who pooh-poohed the Spirit-inspired apostles on Pentecost (“They have had too much new wine”).

What might all this mean? Why didn’t the risen Jesus do a victory lap and purge his enemies and doubters?

One reason is that his post-Resurrection appearances focused on firing up the faith of his followers and assuring them that he remained with them.

That’s why we shouldn’t wait for Our Lord to swoop down anytime soon to banish the wicked and restore the world to some mythical golden age.

Rather, let’s recall that the risen Lord is with us daily – in the Eucharist, in Church teachings, in the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

For motivation in the Easter season, consider praying with “The Tomb and the Pearl: A Retreat Guide for Easter.”

And savor the victory that Jesus won for us.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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