Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

On Sunday Christians everywhere will celebrate the event that legitimizes their faith: Jesus’ resurrection.

At once it proves His divinity through victory over death, and also, the faithful believe, cleanses the souls of all sinners and renews their access to paradise in the afterlife. It offers us hope that no matter what sins we might have committed in the past, we can still find redemption and eternal salvation.

“I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God,” the disciple Paul tells the Corinthians in Sunday’s readings. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.”

The Easter message is one of triumph over sin, and over tribulation. Jesus’ resurrection followed one of the worst deaths imaginable. This Prince of Peace, the King of the Jews, was condemned to die as a common criminal, tortured and hung on a cross.

An implicit message in this story is one of hope — that no matter how things might get, those who have faith, and act accordingly, can look forward to ultimate glory. It’s an optimistic message that belies its painful origins.

That hope guides and strengthens Christians everywhere, and it can be projected onto other aspects of our lives. Violence and intolerance seem to be increasing everywhere. Countries across the globe are mired in conflict, both from without and within, while our own political officials seem more interested in fighting their own battles than in serving the needs of their constituents.

Rio Grande Valley residents continue to struggle with political corruption and the possible collapse of some of our largest economic contributors in the agricultural sector. Meanwhile, conflicts worldwide have brought unprecedented, and overwhelming, numbers of people to our borders seeking refuge.

If we are to believe, however, that death itself can be overcome, then we can believe that no matter how difficult and painful our current reality might be, we can still look forward to ultimate glory — if we are able to put the sins of the past behind us and endeavor to create a better, more righteous, future.

Perhaps we can project that hopeful message to other aspects of our lives. If we can conquer sin and create a path to ultimate paradise, maybe we can also climb beyond poor decisions that have put bad officials in office, and in the future elect people who will defend our rights and respect our resources. Perhaps we can reverse the growth of crime, intolerance and other manifestations of disrespect and disregard for others and build communities that can promote cooperation instead of trying to restrict behaviors that we don’t like, even if they don’t affect our lives directly.

It all begins with faith. The ultimate message of the Resurrection is that no matter how bad our past might be, we can redeem ourselves and look forward to greater glory. It is that faith that motivates us to make the effort.

Likewise, if we believe we can improve our communal condition here on earth, we can find the motivation to make it happen.

Have a blessed, and hopeful, Easter.