Easter: Finding Hope

Author: Fr. Lou DelFra, C.S.C.

Crucifix at Easter 300

Our scriptures, like our lives in discipleship, are tested frequently by seemingly hopeless situations. From Abraham walking alongside Isaac, the heir of the covenant, yet who carries upon his shoulders the wood on which he will be sacrificed; to the anonymous friends of a paralyzed man who carry him day after day on his stretcher; to the courageous, yet terrified women who stand at the foot of Jesus’ Cross. Several of us in Holy Cross walked with these ancestors in faith as we approached the casket of a young student, taken by leukemia soon after his college graduation, and greeted his parents, who kept vigil by his body.

And then, almost confoundingly, Abraham spots a ram in the thistle. The men carrying the paralyzed hear of a healer, climb a roof, and begin pulling up tile. The women prepare burial spices and venture vulnerably into the Sunday dawn where angels await. And, almost utterly unexplainably, the mother by the casket, even while tears ran down both cheeks, consoled us with the words of Psalm 118: “Somehow this, too, is the day the Lord has made; so we must find a way to give thanks and rejoice in it.”

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Renewal of Baptismal Promises at the Easter Vigil at Sacred Heart Church

What can explain such relentless boldness—what but the gift of hope, what our Constitutions name our “longing for Easter’s fullness”? Thankfully, this hope is neither self-generated nor the logical response to the facts of any desperate situation. We persevere in longing for the Resurrection, even in the face of death, because we are recipients of a divine gift that compels us to believe that the darkness and suffering we encounter is not the final fact.

In Jesus Christ, to whom we have consecrated our lives in Baptism and in Holy Cross, God has blessed us with a stirring in our hearts, which swells into a conviction, and then bursts forth into the darkness. Today, Easter Light will shine!

This reflection for Easter by Fr. Lou DelFra, C.S.C., of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers, initially appeared in the book The Cross, Our Only Hope: Daily Reflections in the Holy Cross Tradition from Ave Maria Press.