April this year has two weeks of Lent (including Holy Week) and two weeks of Easter time. What can one say to combine all this?! And yet, this is the heart of our faith. As you know, every Sunday we proclaim the Creed. It begins with a short part on God the Father, then there is a very long part on God the Son, then a short part on God the Holy Spirit, and a final short part on our belief in the Church and the presence of the action of God through her.
That second part is the heart of all this! It is all about Jesus. Yes, he went about doing many good things, being merciful, working miracles, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, as they say. Yet, that is not the heart of it all. Yes, he went about preaching, mostly of God’s love and mercy, but also issuing challenges to us, especially to move from sin to holiness. But that is not the heart of it all. Many holy saints have done these things and we are grateful to God for them.
No, the heart is the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, his ascension back to the Father and his expected return in glory at the end of the world. That is what makes the difference. That is what we believe. And when we believe it, this grace changes everything in our lives.
Many find this too difficult to believe. A good man, a holy man, a miracle worker, a wonderful preacher – these are all things that most people can accept about Jesus. But that he is the Son of God, that he is God, come in our flesh, that he is God who died for us to free us from sin and show us the Father’s incredible love for us, that he destroyed death and the power of Satan in our world – these are things that can be tough to believe, to really believe.
And if we believe this, then we know that this God has a claim on us, for we have been purchased by this God at a great cost. We can no longer live for ourselves but only for the one who has loved us this much. Once this knowing grace has penetrated our minds and hearts, then the power of the Holy Spirit aids us in turning away from darkness and toward the light. And what is more, we want to make that turn, because that light is pure love.
My sisters and brothers, a blessed Lent and Easter! May this April be a wonderful month of deeper faith for all of you.