Easter faith reveals flowers of hope Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes

A boy returned from catechism class, where he learned about Jesus’ Resurrection. During his walk home, he stopped at a religious goods store to study a crucifix in the window.

An elderly man joined him. He seemed confused by the crucifix.

Sharing his faith

Eager to share his faith, the boy exclaimed, “Sir, please don’t be confused. I can explain everything. That’s Jesus on the cross. He died for our sins. The beautiful lady under the cross is Mary, his mother. She’s crying because some bad guys crucified her son.”

Tears blinded the man as he hobbled painfully away. The boy’s faith reminded him of the faith he once had.

The boy shouted after him, “Sir, please don’t cry. I forgot the best part. Some bad guys crucified Jesus; but, his Father raised him from the dead. Now he is in heaven as good as new. He wants to take us there to be with him after we die. I can’t wait!’’

Heart of Christianity

This boy’s faith points to Jesus’ Resurrection, which is at the heart of Christianity. In 1 Corinthians 15:14, St. Paul teaches, “If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then our preaching is in vain and our faith empty.”

On Good Friday, the apostles’ faith was weakened when Jesus was crucified. Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. Fearing they would be next, the apostles hid.

After Jesus rose and appeared to the apostles and other followers, their hopes were resurrected, too. At Pentecost, they were changed into courageous witnesses for Jesus. All except John died for Jesus. The Church spread rapidly from Jerusalem to Samaria to the ends of the earth.

Flower offers hope

Greta Weissman, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, recalls how she and other inmates stood for an hour, waiting to barely survive on some poor prison food that tasted like slop. They nearly collapsed from hunger, fatigue, and lack of hope.

Then, she noticed that in a corner of this horrid, hopeless place, the concrete had been broken, leaving a crack. A flower had pushed through the tiny crack. For those who had very little for which to hope, the tiny flower offered hope and beauty.

Every morning thousands of feet on the way to forced labor or roll call shuffled to avoid stepping on their precious symbol of beauty and hope which nourished their will to live. The flower reminds us that Jesus rose from the tomb of stone and gives meaning and hope to believers.

Hope in eternal life

We Catholics believe that life is not a dead end street with no exit, as Jean Paul Sartre taught; rather, when we live our baptismal promises, death opens the door to eternal life. Belief in the resurrection gives us hope. Thanks to Jesus, we believe that though life has its wonderful moments, these are nothing compared to eternal life.

In number 1003 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, “United with Christ by baptism, believers already truly participate in the heavenly life of the risen Christ, but this life remains hidden with Christ in God.

“The Father has already raised us up with him and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Nourished with his body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the body of Christ. When we rise on the last day, we will also appear with him in glory.”

Flowers of hope

Like the tiny concentration camp flower, Easter lilies are flowers of hope because they remind us of resurrection, the heart of our faith.

Belief in the resurrection gives us hope. Sometimes our lamp of hope dims low — a broken relationship, unexpected illness, lack of faith, loss of a friend, unemployment, or other unexpected blows weaken our hope. Then, a flower of hope in the form of encouragement, prayer, or support in unexpected ways strengthens our hope.

A friend told me that he hopes to enjoy a risen glorified body in heaven. This has deeper meaning, because he is disabled, had a leg amputated, and severe spinal problems; yet, he rarely complains. He truly is God’s flower of hope to me and others.

Easter signifies a rebirth and a new beginning for believers in this life and beyond into eternity. In First Corinthians 2:9 it says, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard nor it entered the human heart what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Each day God sends flowers of hope into our life. Let us pray for the Easter faith to see these flowers with Jesus’ eyes. Each day let us ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to live and share our Easter faith as Jesus desires.

Let us renew and live our baptismal promises with deepened faith that reflects our hope of eternal life and helps us be flowers of hope to those in need. May we be eternally thankful for Jesus’ Resurrection during and beyond the Easter season. Alleluia! Christ has risen! Let us be glad and rejoice!

Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.