We live in some difficult times. As we look at our world and all the misery of poverty that so many people endure and the constant threat of war and violence, it is not difficult to reflect on the Passion of Jesus and how we too in so many ways are challenged to accept the cross in our lives. There are many external pressures we face, both worldwide and local, but there are also internal pressures such as illness, broken promises, concerns for our sons and daughters, and so many more that it is difficult to list them. The cross looms strongly in all our lives.
Good Friday was and is a reality that we must face not only for Jesus, but for us as well.
The reason we can call that ominous Friday “good” is that because of Jesus, we know that the Cross of Christ and indeed our own crosses lead to new life, to resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter and promises to all who follow and believe in HIM that resurrection is a certainty. We believe that this is certainly true in our passage from physical death to the new life of heavenly glory.
But there is more. Because of Jesus and the power He offers us through the presence of the Holy Spirit, we can pass from the power of our own crosses into a new life of hope and peace. The Lord does not remove the painful elements of our lives, but gives us the grace we need to embrace the cross and to deal effectively with its grip on our lives. In a sense we can join in the voice of the prisoner who states that “he is free, even though confined by prison bars” or the sick person who claims that “illness has no hold over him.”
Jesus invites us into new life, into interior freedom, into a peaceful place, despite whatever surrounds us and promises ultimately that life overcomes death. This is the Easter promise. May you, God’s people in South Carolina, enjoy the fruits of the resurrection.
A blessed Easter!
+ Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston
The Resurrection of Christ; Nicolas Bertin, circa 1667 – 1736