Christ is risen! Truly, he is risen! Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death. We know that God has the final word. And that word is love. For “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).
The kingdom of God which Jesus ushered into the world is at hand. But, and this is an all important critical “but,” we must repent, and believe in the Gospel. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus we must to the best of our ability think, feel, speak and act as he did. And we need to do it now. For this day, this moment, is the time of fulfillment (Mark 1: 15).
But during this in-between-time of the presence of the kingdom of God being here, but not yet here in its completion – what theologians refer to as “here but not yet” – we have the privilege and responsibility to help advance the love, justice and peace of the kingdom of God ever closer to that day when God will be all in all.
So, while we should joyfully live the “here” of the 50-day-long Easter celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, we mustn’t forget the “not yet” of his crucifixion still being hellishly experienced by countless suffering brothers and sisters.
Abortion, hunger, starvation, poverty, homelessness, euthanasia, human trafficking, sweatshops, torture, illiteracy, environmental degradation, untreated illness, loneliness, war, war preparation and all other forms of violence continue to nail our Lord to the cross.
It is part of the paradox of the loving mystery of Christ Jesus who while gloriously resurrected, remains yet united with us in our sufferings, our crosses – especially with those who suffer the worst forms of man’s inhumanity to man.
The Mystery of the Cross
During Lent I was reading a deeply inspiring book The Mystery of the Cross, by the late Cardinal Basil Hume, OSB, former archbishop of Westminster England.
He wrote about a time during a visit to Ethiopia when a small boy in search of food came up to him. He “took hold of my hand and rubbed it against his cheek, while with the other hand he put a finger into his mouth indicating his hunger. He made these two gestures several times. I had nothing to give and could only promise through an interpreter that I would send food to him when I got home.
“As I moved away the child stood staring at me, almost reproachfully, I thought, for I had not given him food, and what love I could give I now gave no more. The look in that child’s eyes has haunted me ever since. But I had learned, in a new way altogether, how there are two things we humans need above all: food and love. Without both of these we cannot live.”
What an invaluable insight from this holy man of God. As beings comprised of flesh and spirit, we need nourishment for both – food for the body and love for the soul.
Alleluia is Our Song
During this wonderful Easter season, let us deeply pray and tirelessly work to end the horrible sufferings of our dear brothers and sister near and far. Let us pull out the nails that bind them to their crosses. Let us soothe their wounds, feed their hunger and embrace them with God-like love.
Then with Gospel integrity we will be able to joyfully proclaim with St. Augustine of Hippo, “We are an Easter people and ‘Alleluia’ is our song!”
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching. His keynote address, “Advancing the Kingdom of God in the 21st Century,” has been well received by diocesan and parish gatherings from Santa Clara, Calif. to Baltimore, Md. Tony can be reached at email@example.com.