April 1, 2018
My favorite picture from childhood was taken on Easter Sunday many years ago, right after we got home from church. We were dressed up and the whole family was visiting. I have this picture in a place of honor in my home, but it is also a picture with a flaw: it is slightly out of focus. To me, such a picture of a cherished memory can be a kind of image of the way we remember good times from the past. Like a favorite memory from a distant time past, this memory remains a bit out of focus.
The picture the gospel gives us of Easter Sunday is similar. Here we are presented with a vivid and clear image of Jesus rising from the dead. We see the picture clearly through faith. Place this image mentally in your own family photo album on the last page because the picture we are given of the resurrection of the dead, for believers, is a snapshot of our own future as well. In a way, it is quite similar to my favorite childhood picture, because it is somewhat out of focus, for we have not arrived there yet, and the present world tends to distort the picture. It is in many respects unimaginably good.
Life is like a series of photographs or paintings. Those in the past are already framed and hanging on the wall of your inner home: your soul. Perhaps some are out of focus. Perhaps more than a few have needed “retouching” by being forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Easter Sunday is a reminder that we are also people who are headed somewhere. Already, a frame exists in each life-story with a picture that will not be completed until the end of our lives. We know that Jesus is in it, and we can see him already. Where do we fit in? Where am I going after death? What kind of world will we be in? So the picture is not totally in focus yet!
Our Lord, who worked in construction on earth before beginning ministry at age 30, desires to construct a home for you as well if you choose to enter heaven with your life. Imagine a custom home, exactly perfect and unique to you. On the walls are perhaps living images of moments of when you made a big difference in the lives of others, many of which you are not now aware of. What a great future: Easter is the future.
Easter Sunday is our hopeful picture. The people in my fuzzy childhood picture (except for me!) have all passed away. I pray daily that, in that last picture of life, they will be in it. Jesus, who has risen from the dead, asks us to have faith in him and to live as if we have faith. He wants to give us a picture of hope for the future. Once we have a clearer picture of the hope we have in Jesus, we will want to do everything possible to be ready to enter that last picture of our lives by living a life pleasing to Jesus. The picture may be somewhat fuzzy now, since we are not there yet, but our faith helps us to keep our focus on that very real place, the world of Jesus, that will never end.