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Easter meditation on justice and peace.

Come out from Egypt and be free! Rise up and greet the New Dawn of hope! Break the chains of slavery, destroy every yoke, abolish every oppression.

"The world proposes that we put ourselves forward at all costs, that we compete, that we prevail… But Christians, by the grace of Christ, dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help.

"This is not weakness, but true strength! Those who bear within them God’s power, his love and his justice, do not need to employ violence; they speak and act with the power of truth, beauty and love.

"From the risen Lord we ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war, but to have the humble courage of pardon and peace. We ask Jesus, the Victor over death, to lighten the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted for his name, and of all those who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence. . . May the marginalized, the imprisoned, the poor and the migrants who are so often rejected, maltreated and discarded, the sick and the suffering, children, especially those who are victims of violence; all who today are in mourning, and all men and women of goodwill, hear the consoling voice of the Lord Jesus: “Peace to you!” (Lk 24:36). “Fear not, for I am risen and I shall always be with you” (cf. Roman Missal, Entrance Antiphon for Easter Day). Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi message, April 5, 2015

You just can't keep a good man down.

When that Roman soldier thrust his lance into Jesus' side, and then when his body was taken down from the Cross and laid in the arms of his most Blessed Mother, and then when his body was wrapped up and placed in a tomb, and then when soldiers were posted as guards to make sure no one could steal the body, the rulers of injustice thought that "that was that" for one obscure and troublesome red-necked rabbi from the provinces.

But the story doesn't end there.

It's easy to get into a "that was that" attitude about justice issues, especially when there is so much injustice, when power becomes arrogant, and when the poor are oppressed. It's raining, the boat is filling up, and all I have is a teaspoon to bail with. Maybe you are in a swamp, and the alligators are stacking up about waist high. Despair and all that flows from it -- silence, acquiescence, procrastination -- is always a temptation.

But "all that is" is not just what you can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell with your earthly senses. There is an entire spiritual reality that is as "real" as anything you can bite and taste or feel and smell. It is all around us, New Life -- Easter Life -- victory over death and evil. The Reign of God is upon and among us. That's also reality.

Every moment we live in justice and peace, we experience the Reign of God. Chaos may rage and violence may come, but all of the powers of evil will not win against God. This isn't a counsel to turn away from injustice, but instead a clarion call to action.

The Resurrection of Jesus gives us the courage and inspiration to do what needs to be done on behalf of peace and justice in a world of sorrow and fear.

We are truly an Easter people. We have received the message of the Risen Christ, who preaches to us the good news of salvation from sin and liberation from all wicked oppressions.  We are washed in the waters of baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed at the table of the Lord. To understand this Easter is to live this reality, moment by moment.

So it comes to pass that our eyes and ears and hearts become open to the ever-renewing Spirit of the Lord, who helps us to discern the signs of these times and who empowers us to live in the passionate freedom of the love of Christ, as we join with our neighbors in building the Reign of God right here, right now.

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