Faith and Values
The central belief of Christianity is that Jesus rose from the Dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Christians celebrate this at Easter. It is easy to get distracted from the central message of Easter, because of the commercial society in which we live. It can be tempting to become caught up in the feasting and Easter eggs and miss its true significance.
In the story of the Fall in Genesis we are told that humans have free will, the ability to choose between right and wrong, between God’s path and a selfish, ego-centred way. The rest of the Bible assures us that even when we turn away from God and sin, that God always invites us back into relationship with Him, just as he did the people of Israel. This Biblical account of God’s saving action also tells us that God will stop at no lengths to save us. We are told that He even becomes one of us in the person of Jesus. Jesus, fully human and fully divine, enters into the human experience with all of its joys and sorrows. In the crucifixion Jesus confronts evil head on. The innocent victim, he does not avoid suffering, but embraces it in order to save us from sin, and ultimately from death.
Author and film critic Richard Leonard, SJ, writes, ‘Jesus did not simply come to die. Rather Jesus came to live, and as a result of the radical and courageous way that he lived his life, and the saving love he embodied for all humanity, he threatened the political, social and religious authority of his day… His divinity is seen in and through the uncompromisingly loving, just and sacrificial way he lived within the bounds of his humanity… With this new perspective, we can stand before the cross and listen to Jesus in St. John’s Gosepl saying, “I have come that you may have life and live it to the full.” On Good Friday, we find God in Jesus Christ confronting evil, death, and destruction head-on, and staring it down, so that light and life have the last word.’ This is the GOOD NEWS of the Resurrection, the true meaning of Easter.