Easter 2016 – The Mercy of God to the World through His only Son Lord Jesus Christ
As we Christians know that the Holy Church (through Holy Pope Francis), the year from (December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016), is dedicated to the Year of Mercy, I dedicate this article for the same as God’s mercy to the world is everlasting. Easter is the day when we celebrate rising of Jesus Christ from the dead or Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Death came through Adam and Eve by sin (disobeying God in the Garden of Eden) but Life came again through the Man anointed by God Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and gave His life to die for our sins. On the third day after his death, He rose from the grave, the day we now celebrate as Easter Sunday.
According to the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene came to the cave where Jesus had been buried and found the tomb empty. An angel of the Lord told her that Jesus had risen. Easter is the time to celebrate and commemorate the central event of the Christian faith, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death by crucifixion.
Easter is the oldest Christian festival and the most important day of the church year. All the Christian movable feasts and the entire liturgical year of worship are arranged around Easter. Easter is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter which begins on Ash Wednesday and culminating in the Holy Week and is followed by a 50-day Easter Season that stretches from Easter to Pentecost where Jesus appearing to His Apostles and followers here on Earth. During the celebration of the mass (Eucharist) in the Host, Jesus present again, we celebrate again the Glory of the Risen Christ. So one day we too will rise from the dead with Him in Glory whoever believes in Him because Jesus freed all of us from the stretches of sin and death through His death on the Cross and resurrection on the third day, promising us everlasting life in Heaven if we live a good and God loving life on earth.
In Roman Catholicism, and some Lutheran and Anglican churches, Easter is celebrated with a vigil that consists of ‘the blessing of the new; the lighting of the paschal candle at midnight; a service of lessons, called the prophecies; followed by the blessing of the font and baptisms and then the mass or Eucharist of Easter.’ In Orthodox churches, the vigil service is preceded by a procession outside the church. When the procession leaves the church, there are no lights on. The procession conducts a symbolic fruitless search for Christ’s body, then joyfully announces, “Christ is risen!” and He is risen indeed.
When the procession returns to the church, hundreds of candles and lamps are lit to symbolize the splendor of Christ’s resurrection, and the Easter Eucharist is taken. The week before Easter is very special in the Christian tradition. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday and the last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday and they respectively commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are sometimes referred to as the Easter Tridium (Latin for “Three Days”). Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday; now He offers to us the gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins. This is the true story of Easter, and it can change our life.
The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And the wages of sin is death.” God is perfect and holy, and our sins separate us from God forever; but God is so merciful to sinful and disobedient people whom He created out of love that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Jesus is the Son of God. He lived a sinless life and then died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. “God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Jesus rose from the dead and now He lives in heaven with God His Father. He offers us the gift of eternal life of living forever with Him in heaven if we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.” God reaches out in love to you and wants you to be His child. “As many have received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe on His name.” You can choose to ask Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and come in to your life as your Lord and Savior.
According to the Apostle Paul, who even says that if Jesus Christ has not been resurrected then the Christian faith is worthless and futile (1 Cor. 15:14-17). Therefore, without Easter there is no Christianity. So Easter is celebrated as center of our faith and Christian life. So believe in the fact the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ so that we may have God’s choicest blessings here on earth and the everlasting life here after.
To conclude we shall recite a prayer: “Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior during this Easter and I want to serve you always here on Earth.” Amen.
Wish Everyone a Holy and blessed Easter 2016
By Alban D’Souza, Udyavara-Bajjodi