The world today really needs the hope that only Easter brings. I do not know about you, but I often feel overwhelmed by the daily media stories of all the pain experienced throughout our world. The cycle of violence never seems to subside. There is still unrest in Iraq and other places like Syria where thousands of people have been killed and many are living in wretched circumstances in refugee camps and those still in Syria live in constant danger. People are dying of hunger in the Sudan and in many other countries. Many cannot find work to support their families.
Most of us can name other situations. Violence, hatred and revenge are all around us. Suffering runs rampant, and mercy and compassion seem to be scarce commodities these days. Many cry out and ask where God is in all of this.
I think that part of the problem starts on a personal level. If we were reconciled with each other and had right relationships, there would be less violence in our families and in the world. There would be more peace.
As Christians our faith in the Resurrection, which we celebrate during Holy Week, reminds us that good can and does come out of suffering and that the only way to conquer sin is to love, even our enemies. Jesus died out of love for us and through His suffering came His Resurrection. By His Cross and Resurrection He set us free.
As this season of Lent comes to a close, it would be good to reflect on our own attitudes. Do we feel that people are justified in wanting to punish hatred with more violence? What are our thoughts about the death penalty (which is what Jesus died under)? Do we ever pray for the conversion of our enemies, even terrorists and those people in our lives that have hurt us or do we think they should get what we judge they deserve? On the other hand, do we ask others for forgiveness?
As Christians who believe in the Resurrection, we must strive to be models of love and hope. Our good works of Lent must continue throughout the rest of the year. We have a mission to make Christ known by our love. We must express our belief that, even in this gloomy, dark time of pain and suffering at home and around the world, God will not abandon us — just like He did not abandon His Son, Jesus, even though it may have looked that way at first. Our world needs this Easter message. Go out and proclaim it to all in your world.
And if current events make it hard for you to believe that God is somehow in all of this, ask God to deepen your faith and to help you to remember times when He brought you out of difficulties in your life or the life of someone you know. Easter tells us that God never leaves us in our pain and brings good out of evil. We must proclaim that, in spite of the situation of our world, God is with us and that gives us hope.
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