I have always liked this icon of the Resurrection, which shows Jesus smashing the gates of death, reaching down into Hades, and releasing humanity – represented by Adam and Eve – from the power of sin and death. This is an ancient formula of our core belief, which gives meaning to the whole body of our Christian faith.

In the 4th Century, St John Chrysostom summarised it better than I can in one of his Easter homilies:

‘Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Saviour has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead.’

Our world

During a recent discussion with a friend on the state of the world, he quipped that ‘the devil has never had it so good’. Looking back on history of humanity, I am not entirely sure he is correct, but there is no doubt that evil in all its forms is clearly present. Violent conflicts, economic hardship, systemic corruption, and persecution and exploitation of the vulnerable abound in our world.

We can all be tempted to give up on trying to make things better. We feel helpless and powerless, and while we may never waiver in our faith and trust in God, it can seem that the world is stuck in the mire of Good Friday’s suffering.

The Resurrection

However, what makes Good Friday ‘good’ is the Resurrection, and if we dare to look hard through the eyes of faith, we will see signs of resurrection everywhere.

As usual, Pope Francis inspires us with these words:

‘Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force.

‘Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference, and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit. On razed land life breaks through, stubbornly yet invincibly.

‘However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history.

‘Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelise are instruments of that power.’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 276)

We have so much to celebrate, and still much more to do to make the incredibly beautiful message of the Resurrection known to the world.

Together with the Risen Lord, we cannot fail!

On behalf of all of us in the Missio team, I wish you a happy, holy, and hope-filled celebration of Easter.

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