Happy Easter! We made it! I was thinking that if every day was a mile, we just ran 4o miles. Does it feel like a 40-mile spiritual run? Some of us may have a runner’s high while others are really glad it is over. Others may have cut through some side streets, yet still feel exhausted. Either way, I hope we all benefited. I hope nobody feels like they had spiritual rocks in their shoe. If you suffer that much from a spiritual exercise, don’t do it.
But now is a time of rejoicing. Our Lord Jesus is risen! I remember a woman I knew asked why we say Jesus is risen. She was really into proper grammar, so it seemed a contradiction that we would say is (present tense) and risen (past tense). I did not know how to explain at the time, having never been asked about it before. To answer that now, I would say that risen is in reference to when Jesus rose from the dead, historically speaking. We say is because Jesus did not go back to the dead. He is still living. He conquered death by rising from the dead.
The great thing about it for us is that Jesus extends this triumph to us. We may suffer for a while here in this life; He still promises us eternal life where there is no suffering. The resurrection of Jesus does not promise us a bed of roses in this life, the bed of roses is for the next life. But until then, the Power of Jesus risen strengthens us, feeds us, and empowers us to have life to the fullest. It gives us the ability to be His children so that we may grow in wisdom, peace and charity. It wins us many graces here on earth, as well as the ultimate grace of heaven.
The resurrection does not benefit Jesus; we are the ones who benefit from the Risen Lord. He did what we humans do (suffer and die) so that we could do what He does (conquer darkness). This only happens when we take steps in faith in Him. If we do not have faith in Him, we do not have the ability to benefit from Him.
Lent is like a small lifetime. It feels like a long race, and so much can happen in the course. If we start running all alone, we may even get off course. We need the companion of Jesus to root us on, to push us when we need, and give us that little cup of water when we need. As much as I do not want to look at it, the difference between Lent and Life is that Lent is now over, but Life still goes on. This is not depressing. It gives us joyful expectation that we will see the Risen Lord in our lives. There is so much more hope of being the person we want to be. There are so many more times where Jesus will give us miracles. There will be so many more times when we can rejoice in God’s mercy in confession and feel the freedom He desires for us. There are so many more times when we will receive Him in the Eucharist to renew His presence in us. How many more times will He listen to our prayers at adoration? Yes, Jesus is truly risen. He rose historically so that we may have a reason to start believing in Him, and the grace of Jesus risen gives us the courage to continue our journey with Him.
I do not enjoy running like when I was young. I can really feel my limitations anymore. But it is fun to watch a little child run. It seems an expression of freedom. How freeing it must feel to have so much energy to simply run. Run so as to be free. How happy our Heavenly Father rejoices in such spiritual running.