Easter Sunday

Happy Easter! Today just one question it’s important: What is eternal life? We get some glimpse on Easter Sunday -and throughout the fifty days of the Easter season. Jesus has been transformed in a radical way –and so will we, in him. But, in spite of the great change, there will also be continuity[1].

[Brothers and sisters] Eternal life will continue something that begins in this life. A week ago, on Palm Sunday, we received some hints. We heard Jesus' prayer, Not as I will, but your will be done![2] He accepted the Father's will even though it meant terrible suffering. And St. Paul told us that because of his obedience, the Father greatly exalted him[3]. For Jesus eternal life means perfect union with the Father's will.

Something similar applies to you and me. Eternal life means that we become sons and daughters of God -in Jesus. This is a hard concept to grasp. The Italian poet, Dante Alighieri can help us[4]. He wrote a beautiful poem called the Divine Comedy[5]. It tells about his journey into the depths of hell, then his arduous climb up the seven story mountain of purgatory. Finally he gets up to spheres of heaven. The lowest area of course belongs to the moon. In that field are those who broke their vows, but repented before they died. There Dante meets a woman who he recognizes. Piccarda is her name. Dante asks her if the souls on this lowest sphere aren't perhaps a little bit unhappy, maybe they yearn for a higher place in heaven. But Piccarda gently smiles and she seems "to glow with the first fire of love." She explains to Dante that the essence of heaven is to dwell within God's holy will. Then she speaks what is the most famous single verse in the Divine Comedy, In his will is our peace.

His will is our peace. This does not mean God absorbs or destroys our individual wills. What it means is that a person discovers the power and freedom of his own will -by aligning it with God's will.

Heaven, eternal life, means to embrace the Father's will –in Jesus. That has to begin now, here on earth, or it will never begin.

I invite you during these fifty days of Easter to find some time apart for prayer. Our Blessed Sacrament Chapel is a wonderful place. It is open twenty-four hours a day. You will not regret the time you spend in prayer. Take time to talk with Our Lord. Everything will go better. But above all you will desire to embrace the will of the Father - in Jesus. In his will is our peace.

I would like to conclude this Easter homily with one of the most beautiful hymns of the Liturgy of the hours:

This is the day the Lord has made;
He calls the hours his own;
Let heaven rejoice, let earth be glad,
And praise surrounds the throne.

Today he rose and left the dead,
And Satan’s empire fell;
Today the saints his triumph spread,
And all his wonders tell.

Hosanna to th’anointed King,
To David’s holy son:
Help us, O Lord! Descend and bring
Salvation from Your throne.

[1] Sunday 23rd March, 2008; Easter Sunday. Acts 10:34, 37-43. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad-Ps 117(118):1-2, 16-17, 22-23. Colossians 3:1-4 / 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. John 20:1-9. [St Turibius de Mongrovejo].
[2] Cfr Lk 22:42.
[3] Cfr Phil 2: 9-11.
[4] Dante Alighieri, or simply Dante (1265-1321), was an Italian poet from Florence. His central work, the Divina Commedia is considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. In Italian he is known as "the Supreme Poet" (il Sommo Poeta). Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio are also known as "the three fountains" or "the three crowns". Dante is also called the "Father of the Italian language". The first biography written on him was by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375), who wrote the Trattatello in laude di Dante.
[5] The poem's imaginative vision of the Christian afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church. It helped establish the Tuscan dialect in which it is written as the Italian standard.
Ilustration: Flemish Unknown Master, Resurrection (c.1400), Tempera on wood, 33,1 x 21,2 cm, Museum Mayer van den Bergh (Antwerp).

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris