Christ, Our Hope

by | Apr 10, 2020 | Church, Family Life, Health, Liturgy, Prayer, Society, Spirituality

For most Catholics, Lent 2020 has been a Lent like no other. We have found ourselves giving up things we never thought of giving up, due to forced quarantines, lock-downs, lay-offs, and perhaps for many of our Catholic Marriage Prep couples, even wedding dates and receptions. The global pandemic, and our response to it, has made us reflect on our own mortality, our faith, and our priorities in life.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

For Christians, there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel. Even as some parts of our country await the peak of COVID-19 cases and deaths, we can be assured that God continues to hold us in his love. We know this because if God stopped thinking about us for even one moment, we would cease to exist. It is God who is in control, no matter how much we want to be in control. If we learn nothing else from this virus, we need to remember–God is in control, not us. Christians also have assurance that God will cause good to come out of this very bad thing. We’re not being Pollyannas, hoping against hope, wishing on a shooting star. We see with the eyes of faith and we know the Easter story: (spoiler alert!) Jesus died, was buried, and rose again on the third day. He has victory over sin and death. Our God, who rose from the dead, is in charge and he always brings good out of whatever bad things we encounter because he is love.

At the time of this writing, it is Good Friday, the darkest day of the Christian liturgical year. In some ways, it feels like the last month or so has been one continuous Good Friday. Still, we know Jesus rises on Easter. We know death has no hold over him.

This virus has caused many of us to confront the reality of death. As scary as death is, we also know it is not the end. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Yes, death will eventually come for each of us. Yes, there is life after death. We are learning how to live and love each day we are blessed to be alive here on earth. That is our first mission; to be holy.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear… (1 John 4:18)

We are an Easter people. Death has no victory over us. Darkness has no place in our hearts or in our homes. We can cast off the darkness and fear and live as children of the light.

Easter is more than a day. In the Christian liturgical season, it is eight full days; the octave of Easter. This solemnity is so great it can’t be contained in a single day, so the Church celebrates Easter for eight full days. The eight days of Easter begin with Easter Sunday and end with Divine Mercy Sunday. As we sing with joy to the Lord for his victory over death, we also celebrate his mercy:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
his mercy endures forever.
Let Israel say:
his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Aaron say,
his mercy endures forever.
Let those who fear the Lord say,
his mercy endures forever.
(Psalm 118:1-4)

That’s not all. The Church gives us fifty full days of the Easter liturgical season. That’s ten more days than we endured with Lent. Our suffering has been great, but the joy we are promised is even greater.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 14, we read about Jesus instituting the Eucharist, in what is called his “Last Supper discourse.” In the first verse of that chapter, Jesus tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faithin God; have faith also in me.”(John 14:1) And in the final verses of that chapter, he repeats his admonition, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

Jesus is our hope and in him we need not fear. This Easter season, may you find hope, peace, and joy in the victorious cross of Christ and in his infinite ocean of mercy.

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Debbie Nowak

Debbie Nowak is a convert to the Catholic faith, for which she gives thanks and praise to God daily. She met her husband, Joe, when they were both naval officers in Italy . They have been married for over three decades. They have ten children and multiple grandchildren. Her life goals include helping others know the supreme happiness of having a Christ-centered marriage and the fullness of truth found in the Catholic Church. She and her husband live in Colorado.

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