Easter Sunday 2021
Fr. Philip Neri Powell OP
St. Dominic Priory, NOLA
What do we expect from the world? Acceptance? Tolerance? Approval? They tortured and executed our Savior for sedition. . .really for little more than inconveniencing the Narrative. And now we're expected to what. . .accept it? Tolerate it? Approve it? Why would they expect us to do anything but rage against the injustice? That's easy. That's all we've done for some five, six, seven hundred years now. We've knuckled under, bowed our heads, and flowed with the flow. They have every reason to believe that this Easter will be no different. What we know – but don't boast about – is that the Risen Christ has freed us from their expectations. His resurrection from the tomb has freed us from sin and death, and, therefore, the world – in all its myriad fascination with sin and death – has no power over us. Of course, it never did. But we pretended that it did. To our demise. We pretended that politicians matter. That policies matter. That declarations, resolutions, legislation, and regulations matter. We've pretended that credentials, test scores, rulings, and findings matter. They don't. What matters is the resurrection. And that you and I are dead in Christ and live again in his glory.
What the world fears most is not being taken seriously. That is, what the world fears most is being mocked for its ephemeral nature, for its swift and inevitable passing. The powers of the world dreadfully fear the ticking and tocking of the clock. Why? B/c what power and authority it has over us is fleeting – on an eternal scale, really, nothing at all. This is what defeat looks like: knowing your worst enemies are easily defeated in this world and then watching them rise again into eternity. . .while you languish in time and space, damned to repeat your pathetic struggle for accolades and empty victories. Like all false gods, History disappoints. When History is your God you should expect that you will end when history does. However, if Christ is your God, you should expect to rise to eternity even though you might suffer while traveling through. Christ did. That's what the Triduum is all about. Why would his followers expect anything different? What he shows us is that pain, despair, longing, abandonment. . .all of these are fleeting. . .if we offer them in sacrifice to God. In the world, these can grant you power and influence as a victim. Until the age ends and you find yourself yoked to pain and despair permanently. For heaven, these prepare you for sainthood. And that's the end of any proper supernatural life.
As the darkness consumes history – as it always does – find yourself firmly among those who have given themselves to the only one who has defeated sin and death. Find yourself stubbornly planted in the field that will produce the good fruits of eternal joy. Being “on the right side of history” is great for sixty or seventy years. You'll get your promotion, your raise, your trophies. But when the Angel of Death comes for your soul, you'll wonder: what good did I do in servicing the world? Won't the world reward me? Yes, it will. Or rather, it already has. And your reward is as temporary as your service. No more than a breath, dust on the scales. When the world passes, so do all its rewards. Stand up and stand firm for the Way, the Truth, and the Life – the eternal Life – that Christ alone offers and guarantees. Yes, you will suffer. For a while. Some more than others. You will suffer. Look again at the body of Christ on the Cross. Look again at his mother's pierced heart. Look again at your expectations. And ask yourself: am I a passing shadow, an absence of light; or, am I a light to the nations? A bonfire for Christ's love?