The Risen Lord beckons us to live in the vast beautiful world of his resurrection

As published in the Northwest Indiana Catholic on April 16, 2017        


       Built over the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, is the Church of Saint Peter Gallicantu, commemorating the denial of Simon Peter in the courtyard the night of Jesus’ arrest.

       Underneath the church is the “Pit,” the stone cell into which Jesus was thrown and held the night before his death. To stand in that dark, cold place, to see the hole through which our Lord fell to the hard floor, to think of him lying there totally alone, facing Good Friday, moves one to tears. While there, our pilgrimage group read and meditated on Psalm 88, a solitary and suffering cry to God from one who feels total abandonment.

       We have all been in the pit, facing our own dark nights of the soul, feeling unloved or unwanted or misunderstood, alone without any consolation from God or others. The Good News that we celebrate and proclaim on Good Friday is the astonishing truth that the Lord went into the pit before us, tasted a profound abandonment impossible to understand, and embraced a horrifying death. 

       He did all of this so we would never lose hope, even in the darkest of nights.

       Easter Sunday is Jesus’ victory over the forces of sin and death, the vindication of his entire mission, the triumph of love over hate, grace over evil, comm over loneliness and eternal life over the power of darkness. The resurrection of Christ does not magically erase the wounds and limitations of our frail humanity. We will still often feel misunderstood, suffer terrible heartbreaks and ultimately face death alone, but the Lord has opened a path for us; light shines at the end of the tunnel. He wants us to call on his mighty power, enjoy the intimacy of his presence through the sacraments, hear his gentle voice in the Word and discover the beauty of his face in those around us.

       We will still find ourselves in the pit, but when our eyes get used to the darkness, we will see that Jesus is there with us, offering consolation, mercy and hope. The Lord beckons us to live in the vast beautiful world of his resurrection, already in the here and now of our lives as we find them to be. We don’t have to wait until we are dead to know the glory of God and taste the joy of Easter. Just as in the Gospels, the Risen Lord shows up in the most unexpected places, wearing the most shocking of disguises, if we have the eyes to see.

       This Lent, we have journeyed with Jesus in the wilderness for forty days, seen his transfigured glory on Mount Tabor, met the woman at the well and the man born blind, stood outside the tomb with Martha and Mary when Lazarus came forth from death and welcomed Christ into the Jerusalem of our hearts. 

       In the steady practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we have cleared an emptier space in our minds and hearts so that the Living Water, the Light of the World, the Resurrection and the Life can enter in and take hold of us in a deeper way.

       May you have a joyous Easter, feel the resurrected life that beats in your heart, and live the mystery of God’s love in new and exciting ways! 

       Peace, prayers and blessings!


       + Bishop Donald J. Hying