Cortez: Faith and Hope in God’s Mercy: A Reflection on the 2nd Sunday of Easter

Dr. Jaime V. Cortez

THE celebration of the Easter Season which began last Easter Sunday leads us, among others, to two important realizations.

We realize that paradoxically, death is not the end of life but the beginning of something better or something worse. The life of every human may end on earth, but it continues in heaven (for the better) or in hell (for the worse). As the book of Hebrews (Ch. 13, v. 14) tells us, “For here we have no lasting city but we seek for one that is to come.

Our bodies are mortal but our souls are immortal. In the next life, the 70, 80, 90 or even 100 years that we have spent in this world will pale in comparison to the time we will spend in heaven or hell. There, our stay will not only be 120 years. Not even 200, 1,000, 1,000,000 or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, for once we get to our final destination, we will be there forever and ever. And that is called eternity.

Second, we realize that in the end, good will triumph over evil. We often question the many evils around us – why good people suffer, why innocent children are wounded in war, why many die of hunger while some live in filthy extravagance, why the just are punished while the crooks get away with their crimes, why the honest wallow in misery while the dishonest live in prosperity, and why the meek, humble and pure of heart are maligned and despised while the rude, the arrogant and the deceitful are praised and honored.

Easter reminds us that God, not evil, will have the final word. When Jesus died hanging on that wooden cross, Satan thought that he defeated God. But he was all wrong. By offering his life on the cross and rising from the dead three days later, God made Satan the big, big loser. The empty tomb is a picturesque reminder that God and his children have the ultimate power over the enemy … that ultimately, darkness will be conquered by light, and that in due time, they will crush and step over the devil’s head.

These two realizations – on the immortality of our souls and on the final victory of God and his people –may be used to generate wellsprings of faith and hope.

As Christians, our faith is centered on Jesus Christ – our Alpha and our Omega, the beginning and the end. Our faith is in him who said, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live” (John 11:25). Our faith is in him who said, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:2-3).

Despite the glaring evils of our times, Easter challenges us to continue placing our hope in the goodness of our God. In due time God will punish the evil and reward the good. He will repay each one according to what he has done (Romans 2:6). St. Paul writes, “Make no mistake; God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit” (Galatians 6:7-8). St. Peter adds, “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient …, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (1 Peter 3:9).Someday, God will wipe away every tear from his children’s eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, or crying, or pain (Revelations 21:4).

Truly, even in this troubled world, “They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

This Easter, may we then rekindle our faith in our God’s redeeming love and our hope in his merciful justice. The battle has been won and the verdict is clear: Jesus wins! Happy Easter…