Christ is Risen! Death has been destroyed!
This is the shout of victory that breaks the night of the Easter Vigil and opens wide the doors of our lives to the Light of the Love of God.
Yet, concretely, what does this mean? What does it mean that Christ has been victorious over death? How does this announcement affect my life today?
To answer to these questions, I invite you to go to a passage in the Scriptures that is seldomly brought to our attention and yet, it is fundamental to our understanding of the Pascal Mystery of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In the letter to the Hebrews, we read:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrew 2:14)
In light of this passage, we understand that the main problem of all of us is that we are held in slavery by the fear of death. This passage helps us to see that the root of all our unhappiness and frustration is that we are afraid of death, and this is what keeps us tied like slaves.
Someone might say, “Afraid of death? Not at all! This is not the issue of my life! My real problems are very different! My problems are all the moments of crisis I experience in my marriage, all the struggles I go through with my children, all the difficulties I have at my job! These are my problems! Nothing to do with “death!”
In actuality, it has everything to do with “death,” because “death” in the Scriptures is not of a physical nature; instead, it refers to everything that destroys us or “kills” us during our lives, like difficulties with our spouse, problems with a coworker, frustrations over our children not listening to us, or complications because of an illness we or a loved one has. “Death” is everything that goes against our reality of life, our concept of truth, our ideas, or our plans. Our daily lives show us that we simply cannot tolerate anything that goes against us. We cannot accept anything that smells like “death.” The moment we are confronted with an event of suffering, we rebel, we sink, we judge, we grumble, we can’t forgive. This is our wounded human nature: we cannot enter into anything that would make us suffer because we are afraid that there, we would lose our “life,” and, in effect, “die.”
This is where Christianity becomes the Good News! Christ has entered into death and has broken “the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.” If Christ has become a man, sharing our flesh and blood, this means that by rising Christ shares with us the power to destroy death. And, if the power of death within us has been broken, we are no longer afraid of death, which is to say we are not afraid of entering into situations of suffering anymore, because Eternal Life, the life of the Risen Lord dwells within us. Nothing destroys us anymore. We can love beyond “death,” beyond our suffering and therefore forgive those who hurt us. We can walk over death and therefore not sink in the midst of our trials!
This is the love of God. Through Christ, His Son, He has shown us that He loves us in our darkness, in the places deep in our human nature where we feel defeated, humiliated, powerless, or paralyzed! There He loves us and does not let us down. Instead, He makes us partakers of His Resurrection!
Christ is Risen! Death has been destroyed! Happy Resurrection to everybody!
My name is Andrea Povero. I was born in a town called Ivrea, close to Turin, Italy.
I am almost 35 years old and I am the last one of 4 children.
When I decided to enter the seminary, I chose to enter into a “missionary seminary.” I went to a retreat close to Rome and there, together with 300 young men, I put my name into a basket. In another basket were the names of the all the missionary seminaries around the world. When my name was pulled from one basket, it was matched with the name “Boston” from the other basket.
I was sent to Boston in November 2007. I became a priest by the grace of God on May 19, 2018.
For the past three years I have been the Parochial Vicar of three parishes: St. Thomas Aquinas and Our Lady of Lourdes in Jamaica Plain and Saint Mary of the Angels in Roxbury.