by Ken Rolheiser
Easter with one foot in heaven

“Whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life.” (John 5:24). A realization we should have this Easter is that we can have eternal life now. If we believe in Jesus, we have “passed from death to life”, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of Christ. (John 5:24). 

What does this eternal life now mean? We were created by God the Father, and we are loved eternally in Christ. And it means we are called by Christ to be disciples and have a part in all his glory.

Another fantastic realization we should have this Easter is that we are united in the Communion of Saints with fellow believers who are still on earth and with loved ones in heaven who have gone before us – our parents, grandparents, family and friends.

Easter is that special celebration when heaven is opened. “The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:51-53).

In our lives we often want to avoid drama, those deep emotions that can stress us. But we need drama in our spiritual lives. The events of the passion story still engage us with positive results. The veil in the temple is rent and heaven is opened to us.

The best and only way to ensure the happiest of Easters with our toes in heaven is to realize the need for repentance which every disciple requires. Lent calls us all to repentance.

In an iconic photo a white-clad Pope Francis steps into an ordinary confessional to make his reconciliation with God. If we were not sinners, Christ would not have had to die.

God’s mercy is his greatest gift! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

When we were unable to help ourselves, Christ looked at us and loved us. He prayed for us in Gethsemane and offered himself on the Cross to redeem our natures; so that our innocence could be restored, and so that we could again be in that state of Eden where we can enjoy delight in a world that God created and saw that it was good.

On the cross Christ’s death for our sins balanced the justice scales, and mercy triumphed over justice. Our sins are forgiven when we repent. Any judge on earth would be in trouble if he just forgave the criminal and waived the penalty the law requires.

The marvel of Easter is in getting to know Jesus a little better. Incredibly God still stands on the path like a Prodigal Father, hoping we will return to Him. More incredibly God is ready to forgive us and forgive us and forgive us, even when He knows we will falter again.

As we continue our life’s journey after Easter, may the “Lord have mercy” song stay with us as we “find ourselves again”:
“Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night

Kyrie eleison, where I'm going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light.” (Mr. Mister 1985).
(560 words)