Brothers and sisters, it is so easy to look at all the challenges around us and become very discouraged. It seems that every realm of life and society is being tested beyond its limits: family life, political life and church life. We face challenges to our physical, mental and spiritual health. Watching the news, we see stories about economic insecurity, joblessness and what feels like a never-ending stream of senseless violence.
Just naming these stressors out loud is taxing on our souls. It’s no wonder that so many people struggle with fear, worry, anxiety and depression. What we are experiencing now seems to be very similar to what the disciples must have felt after Jesus’ death on Good Friday before the first Easter. Their hopes and dreams were dashed, they were scattered and everything seemed to be shrouded in darkness.
As Pope Francis has said on several occasions, this time is “not simply an epoch of changes, but an epochal change.” In other words, we are entering a new time in human history. It is during these times, when things feel dark and uncertain, that we must continue to renew our faith by keeping our eyes focused on the person of Jesus, remembering that the victory has already been won. When Christ died on the cross, he paid the full price of our redemption. In other words, he bought us back (redemption) from the powers of sin, death and darkness. He has already won the victory; the price for each one of us has already been paid in full!
Remember that in the Scriptures and in the heavenly realms, one day is the equivalent of 1,000 years and 1,000 years are the equivalent of one day (2 Pet 3:8). Jesus began his ministry with 72 disciples and chose 12 from among them to be his inner circle of apostles. Since then, the population of Christianity has grown from those first followers to 1.2 billion Catholics and over 2 billion when we count all believers in the church today. This doesn’t even take into consideration the countless believers who have also been won for Christ in the past 2,000 years. That is not bad when we consider that all of this has been done in two days according to heavenly calculations. It’s amazing what can happen when we are open and faithful to the Holy Spirit!
In other words, there are tremendous mysteries in the unfolding of the Kingdom of God. How blessed are we to each get to play a small, yet important, role because the Lord God considers each one of us key players in the flow of his self-emptying, self-giving love. That is the reason that, by his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has already won the victory.
Friends, you and I have a choice to make. Do you want to be on the side of the Kingdom of Light and Love and enjoy the benefits of the Kingdom of God both in this life and for eternity? Or do you want to choose to be and live in the kingdom of darkness, hatred and violence for eternity?
Choose Light, choose Life, choose Love and surrender your life into the hands of the loving God who created you in his image and likeness and wants you to be with him forever in heaven. Be part of the Victory that will last for all eternity!
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRIcken.