Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter: God Has Come to the Place Where I Am

When we tell people, "God loves you," they might wonder (not without reason) "What does that mean?"

And if we think it's easy to answer this question, we might not be taking God or people as seriously as we should.

I feel the force and mysterious depth of this question especially when life gets hard. My desire is for the fullness of life, but my experience in the midst of persistent obstacles seems to suggest that there is no way to get there, that I am trapped in suffering and frustration, and that the best that life can offer is distractions.

God "loves" me? What does that mean?

During Easter, we celebrate the real answer that God has given us: the fact that God has done something in history, and that He is doing something in our lives. He was crucified and died and rose from the dead to transform our lives and to begin a New Creation.

The good news of the Resurrection begins at the Cross, because the Cross means that God has come to the place where I am.

That place is suffering, and above all the suffering caused by the fact that I have made choices that have irrevocably screwed up my life and alienated myself from His goodness and love: I have sinned!

But God has come and united Himself to me in that place of solitude, and from there He has risen. This is what it means to say, "God loves you."

God loves me: it means He has united Himself with my whole life, He has taken all the depths of me, and is even now working to awaken my heart and penetrate inside my sorrow and my misery and the guilt that I don't want to face.

God loves me: it means He is here, creating a new possibility for my freedom, a new possibility for love.

God died on the Cross and rose from the dead. He's not an abstract God, or some purely interior divine force. He has a human face. He is Jesus, a man. And He lives forever as a man who reaches me and touches my life in a human way, through a people in history that He has "called together"--the ekklesia, the "Church."

I don't have to make it up. It's real. It's here. It's a gift. It's a path that can be followed.

And I can begin now, because He is present in the place where I am; He has penetrated the depths of my suffering and my guilt and by His love He is creating in me the power to change and be transformed...by Love.

He is Risen from the dead. Alleluia!