Easter Sunday Year B

April 5, 2015


Make-overs have been a regular feature in this recent decade. Old houses get a new lease on life – and, ohhs and ahhs – after what they call an “extreme make-over.” Fitness and health and beauty gurus speak endlessly about restoration of the physical kind that breathes in youth and very literally some form of new life after similar extreme make-overs. Old houses are renovated. Ancient ruins are restored, and life seems instantly renewed.

Or so we think.

But soon enough restored buildings suffer from the same pattern of wear and tear. Renewed art works eventually accumulate grime and grit and grease from too much exposure to the ravages brought by too many pairs of feet trampling on very limited museum square footages all over the world. Caverns with stalactite and stalagmite protrusions both up and down caves all over the world soon suffer from too much body heat and acidic perspiration from too many people who unwittingly kill the beauty of nature without trying very hard.

“The world,” so says the Holy Book, “and all its pleasures are fast drifting away” (1 Jn 2:17).  An author back in the day, says that just as soon as a baby is born, he is already in the process of dying, and that process of dying is very literally repeated every seven years, when all our cells are renewed, reborn, and restored, from the biological point of view.

Today, since I write when the whole world is silent and in a standstill, when all believers await the promise of the resurrection of the Lord from the dead, I talk about the same process in reverse … from darkness to light … from death to life … from falling down to rising once again.

Everyone of us has suffered some kind of little deaths in our lives. God knows how many times I have … from being ignored to being accused unjustly … from feeling despondent to feeling excited … from being close to being helpless and hopeless to getting a new lease on courage and hope and everything else associated with faith … from being so sinful and so far from the Lord to being restored to grace and inner peace of mind … I have died – and at least, figuratively and spiritually – risen so many times in my life.

But this last statement is precisely why I am even writing this and even talking about new life. And since He died and rose from the dead, all this talk about make-overs and restorations and renovations all sounds hollow and meaningless unless we talk of him who made it possible for us to even think and hope and actually look forward to getting new life.

One can talk about renovations and restorations, but no one does it like God who is the author of life. If he could make something out of nothing, He, is capable of making new life come out even from the experience of dying.

This is why the Easter Vigil is so symbolic, while at the same time so realistic. The whole progression from darkness to light is indicative, not only about a shallow make-over, but a deep Passover from death to life.

Tonight’s fire is new. But there is more than new fire tonight, but new birth. We are not doing a make-over but a Passover through a new transition, to a new way of living. Christ did not die in vain, and He definitely did not rise to new life in vain.

I still die a little so many times. Like when I sin … like when I fail. I suffer little deaths when all my best dreams and best efforts go down the drain on account of so many reasons, not excluding the lack of support from otherwise good people who, for reasons best known to themselves (or not at all), work at cross purposes with me, or refuse to cooperate with me, or ignore me. Satan is very busy with those who are trying their level best to do good.

But today, I continue to stand tall and proud. I continue to believe. I continue to rise. For deep in my heart, I know my Savior reigns. He died. He rose. With Jesus I died. With Jesus I rose. With Jesus I hope for heaven’s repose!