Easter: A Message of Hope
Matthew Kelly, in the concluding video of Dynamic Catholic's Best Lent Ever series, poses the question: "What part of your life needs resurrection?"
What a great topic to ponder at the beginning of this Easter Season. We are celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the victory of life over death, of love over sin, of hope over despair, of God over evil. And it feels so good. Now it's important to apply the meaning of the Resurrection to our own lives, and to the lives of the young people with and to whom we minister.
Certainly we know that young people today need resurrection in their lives. According to the Parent Resource Program, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth from 10 to 24 years of age. "More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,470 attempts by young people grades 9-12." (http://prp.jasonfoundation.com/facts/youth-suicide-statistics/) These despairing youth, along with all those less troubled but still worried or doubtful or afraid, long to hear a message of hope. They deserve to know there is light at the end of any dark tunnels into which they stumble. Jesus' Resurrection can give them that hope.
The best way we can share hope with youth is to be people of hope ourselves. I struggle with this on and off. Yesterday was the first anniversary of the death of my little sister, who fought cancer for several years before succumbing. When I first learned that she had pancreatic cancer, I lost hope. After all, it's one of the deadliest of all cancers. But as I watched her go through chemo treatments, always with a smile, I thought we might be getting a miracle. We did get one in the way she faced death with courage and hope, and that sustains me today. But she died, and I struggled to find hope in her absence. But when I reflect on Jesus' Resurrection, I regain hope. Resurrection gives me the gift of knowing I will see Laurie—and Dad and Grandpa and my godmother Blanche and all my loved ones—again in heaven. Love triumphs over death!
So my mission is to share hope with all the young people I encounter. I pray for the courage to do this verbally, by the choices I make, by my attitude toward difficulties, and by loving unabashedly. How about you? How do you share hope? And if it's hard to do that, what part of you is in need of resurrection?