Four Epic Easter Hopes

User's Guide to Easter Sunday 2016


Sunday, March 27, is Easter Sunday.

Mass Readings: Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Colossians 3:1-4, or First Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9

Easter comes this year amid unprecedented worry: Terrorism. The presidential election. A crazy new morality that threatens religious freedom.

How can we find hope when all these things are looking so terrible? Here are ways Easter reassures us of hope.

1. Easter reminds us: They have already done their worst. They failed.

Is the right to life threatened? They killed the Son of God, too. Do they hate Christian morality? They hated Jesus himself. Are bad men plotting to diminish our Church? The leaders of Rome and the Temple colluded to destroy Jesus — and then moved on to his followers.

And you know what happened next: Jesus rose from the dead to reign glorious in heaven, and the Church rose from persecution to spread over the earth.

Anything they do now is just the death throes of a system that we know is destined to fail.

Today’s Gospel shows the simple, straightforward faith of John: “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.” His life was transformed after that.

We, too, can look at the evidence and see, believe and rest assured.

2. Easter shows us there is more.

There is a constant theme in the songs we sing and the stories we tell: We see something greater beyond this world. This speaks to a universal human expectation that there must be some place where we will be greater and experience more.

St. Paul tells us in today’s reading why we feel that way: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you, too, will appear with him in glory.” We expect that there will be something superior to this world, something worthy of our infinite dignity — because, of course, there really is.

3. Christ, “The one who went about doing good” is still alive — and still “going about doing good.”

In today’s second reading, St. Peter sums up the whole life of Jesus:

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil.”

Jesus’ whole reason for being is to “go about doing good.” The only thing that changed at his death is that he is no longer limited to doing good in one time and one place. Now, he can do good anywhere, at any time. Like each of our lives, right now, he will do good for those who ask him in ways we can’t imagine.

4. Jesus is now the almighty King forever.

We learn today in the sequence that is sung at many Masses that “the Prince of Life, who died, reigns immortal.” If Jesus Christ is for us, who can be against us? It is time to celebrate not just a one-time victory, but a victory that literally will have no end. That’s real hope — hope that can refresh us as we take on whatever may come.

Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.