Our world needs the Easter message Print
Cutting Edge
Thursday, Apr. 09, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

Recently I have done some reflection on how I would relate the message of Christ's death and resurrection to the world situation, particularly here in the United States.

Guest Column

Christ's death and resurrection assures us that God has conquered evil and that good can, and does, come out of suffering.

There are times when our faith in this truth is challenged, like now, with our country's worsening economic situation. Banks continue to have serious problems. Many businesses are going bankrupt and others are laying people off or cutting hours. Home values are rapidly decreasing and many are not able to pay their mortgages. Poverty and violence are escalating.

Even the weather in many places seems out of kilter, causing terrible storms and other natural disasters. This turmoil and suffering could easily cause us to question God's presence in all of this. Or we ask why God is permitting this to happen? Even worse, some ask why God is doing this to us!

Needless to say, these serious and often overwhelming problems are not things that make one want to stand up in Church and shout an Easter alleluia! Or are they?

Good can come from suffering

Our faith in God's promises gives us cause to continue to sing alleluia. The celebration of Easter provides us with a good opportunity to reflect on situations in our past or that of others we know when good resulted from suffering. This is the pattern of our lives.

Perhaps you were broken hearted at not being accepted at the college of your choice and ended up in a school that offered many opportunities you would not have enjoyed, and you probably would not have met your spouse had you gone elsewhere.

Or maybe you lost a job you loved at a company where you dedicated the best years of your life and as a result found some new work that challenged and brought you more satisfaction. In addition, it may have given you more time to spend with your family and allowed you to get involved in activities you always wanted to do but did not have time.

Another example might be an experience of clinical depression or another illness that has made you more compassionate and understanding of others who suffer physical or mental illness.

'God never abandons us'

Right now many Americans question whether good can possibly come out of the present situation in our country. I would like to offer a few things that I hope will happen or I see already happening.

Those of us who are used to having much more than we need will learn to live with less and appreciate the many things we often take for granted. Others who are in better financial situations will reach out to others in need.

Already there are heartwarming stories of people who are collecting food to fill pantries that have been depleted because of the unusually high demand. Many are thinking more about others and are not just absorbed in their own lives.

People will spend more quality time with their families, going out to eat less and enjoying one another's company instead of everyone doing his or her own thing. More of us will learn the difference between needs and wants and will begin to appreciate the plight of the poor.

I believe when recovery comes, many of us will have experienced what is really valuable in life. Hopefully, we will discover the fallacy of making money and material goods our first priority and will learn the importance of relationships and sharing with others. Love will be more important than riches. Isn't this the message Jesus gave his followers?

The powerful message of Easter is that God never abandons us. As with Jesus, God does not leave us in our suffering. There is always a resurrection even though we may not see it right away.

God's love always conquers. That is the Easter message, one that we really need to hear right now.

Sr. Margie Lavonis, a freelance writer, is a Sister of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Ind.