The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
April 4, 2021 – Easter Sunday - John 20:1-9
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Many conversations today begin with the question: How are you doing these days? Implied in this inquiry is the fact that we continue to live in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. Times are different these days. Daily options are limited. Routines have changed. We wonder what’s ahead. How will we be a few months from now?
For Lenten reading this year, I read Victor Frankl’s account of his experiences while living in Nazi concentrations camps during World War II. His thoughts are available in one of the most important books of the last century, Man’s Search for Meaning. An accomplished psychiatrist, Frankl lived in four camps (including Auschwitz) and was a keen observer of how people dealt with daily living under the worst of circumstances. Surely much worse than we are now experiencing. Yet we still can learn much from his observations. And they are clearly related to todays’ celebration of Easter.
Frankl asked the question why some prisoners survived those times, and others failed, while both groups faced similar difficulties. He concluded that it was often a matter of a person’s attitude about their own future. Those who looked forward to the future with even a small measure of hope gained a kind of power that helped them make it to that better future. And enriched their present experience. They did not give up. And life did not give up on them.
Today, as we celebrate Easter, we recall not only what happened to Jesus after his death, but reflect on how we are living our own lives right now. Today’s gospel ends with the words, “he had to rise from the dead.” That’s because death is not the final word in God’s creation. Not for Jesus or for us!
God gave us life when we came into the world and will not take away that gift from us. As John’s gospel put this: we are not only given life, but also the capacity of living that life abundantly. So, Easter is not just an affirmation of future life, but of life right now. A life endowed with courage and hope.
Easter reminds us that there’s a hopefulness stitched into the fabric of our lives. Even in these times. So how are you doing? And does an Easter-inspired faith inspire us to move ahead with hope and enthusiasm through whatever challenges, concerns and worries we may have?
©David M. Thomas, PhD