Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!
Alleluia! Happy Easter! Christ is risen! Alleluia! Above are the Greek words proclaiming, “Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!” Typically, this is a call and response in which one person declares, “Christos anesti!”, and another person responds, “Alithos anesti!”
Easter brings about a joy and hope unparalleled to any other celebration. Like Christmas (formerly Pentecost), Easter is technically eight days long, so I'll say “Happy Easter!” for a while. It certainly helps that the season of Spring is here, and that while remnants of winter attempt to remain, the weather progressively improves: longer days, more sun, warmer temperatures, and flowers in bloom. Spring gives us the sense of newness, but Easter obviously isn't centered upon better weather. The newness we truly celebrate is the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, three days after being crucified. The Resurrection of Jesus reveals His triumph over sin and death and over the specter of the grave and of death.
Death is a part of life, and without the eyes, mind, and heart of Christian faith, it can appear to be the end of life. However, for those embracing the Christian faith, we know that death is not the end, but that rather, death brings about the beginning of real life because of Jesus' rising from the dead. Death has been conquered, defeated by Jesus. While we still must grapple with the vicissitudes that death brings during our pilgrimage on earth—particularly the grief and mourning associated with the death of a loved one—death does not have the final say, no matter how much death attempts to instill fear in us through sickness or tragedy. Death is not the worst thing we face; rather, dying outside of friendship with God is the worst possibility.
The saints in heaven, those in Purgatory, are still alive. They are not dead. They are still alive because Jesus Christ is still alive. In his recently published book Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living, the now retired Archbishop of Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles Chaput, states, “The beating heart of Christianity, the source of its endurance and life, is love. The Christian faith is a relationship of trust and love with the person of Jesus Christ, the living Son of the living God, or it's nothing at all...Jesus Christ is human like us. Historically he lived, worked, laughed, and wept like us. He suffered, died, and rose for us. And he lives with us still in the sensate experiences of bread and win, in the Word of God, and in the transformed lives of those who truly know and love him...Christianity is alive because Jesus Christ is alive; alive now in the world, and alive in the hearts of those who truly believe in him.”
Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Jesus is alive, and to reiterate, He is alive in the hearts of those who believe and trust in Him. Because Jesus is alive, He keeps us united with our brothers and sisters in Heaven and in Purgatory. Because Jesus is alive, we can anchor our lives on something beyond this passing world. Because Jesus is alive, we can confidently give our lives completely and totally to Him.
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! Happy Easter! God bless you!