We rejoice the Easter message

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous Lutheran theologian, spent his last days in a Nazi concentration camp. In 1945, on his way to execution, he called back to those he had left behind in his cell: “This is the end for me – the beginning of life.”

Children at boarding school often draw up calendars and mark off each day that brings them one closer to the end of the term. Fiancés mark off the weeks and days that separate them from the great day of their marriage. Parents look forward anxiously to the day when their children will be educated and safely settled in life. Others look forward to the beginning of the football season, some to the end of it.

So often we look forward to some future day.

All this is very natural and very human. In fact, looking forward to a happy day ahead reflects a profound human reality – the reality that our present life is not a permanent abode. We are destined for an eternal home and, as St Augustine says, “our hearts are restless” until we find that eternal peace with God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous Lutheran theologian, spent his last days in a Nazi concentration camp. In 1945, on his way to execution, he called back to those he had left behind in his cell: “This is the end for me – the beginning of life.”

For us too, our present life is a preparation for a future life of fulfilment with Jesus. By his own death and resurrection, Christ conquered death for us and opened to us a new life of eternal glory.  The risen Lord is our guide on our journey to life everlasting. St Gregory the Great urges us to keep our eyes fixed on our final goal. We are not to be travellers who are so captivated by the countryside we are passing through that we forget where we are going.

The end of our passage here is the beginning of a new kind of life. We have a few Calvaries to climb perhaps in the meantime, but what are they when we see a glorious Easter on the horizon? Alleluia, the word we use throughout the Easter season in our praise of God, gives expression to the joy we feel when we contemplate the Easter glory that awaits us.

To quote St Augustine once again: “We are Easter people and Alleluia is our song.”

The pamphlet, Daybreaks Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter, by Fr Ron Rolheiser is available from Majellan Bookshop for $7.50 (postage included).

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