Fr. Chris said that one of the most undervalued virtues today is hope. I think he's right. I know that I often do more than my share of complaining about injustices in the world, inefficiencies in the state government, the state of my parish,. And many of the complaints are valid. But if all you do is complain, you tend to lose sight of the good things that are happening, or lose hope in the possibility of a reform in the Maine government. Most unfortunately, if you complain too much, you can forget that Christ promised to give the Church the Holy Spirit, that He promised not to abandon us, but to stay with us to the end of time.
Another thing Fr. Chris mentioned, something which I had never really considered before, is that the Church on earth is constantly being perfected. We still have the responsibility to "make disciples of all nations". "The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven, at the time of Christ's glorious return." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, sec. 769) At the end of time, the Church will indeed be perfect, and so too then, the world, if a perfect Church will have made disciples of every nation.
What a thing to look forward too! Really, Catholicism is the only religion I know of that allows for the idealism of a perfect world. To most non-Catholic Christians I know (I understand that you can't perfectly generalize), the world is something completely sinful that must be rejected. Only the Catholic Church says that this world, though it may seem so far gone, is salvagable... more than salvagable: it can be brought to a higher level of perfection than it originally had. All this is possible though the grace of God, who loves His creation enough to want to perfect it.
After such an Easter homily, the words of Pope Benedict's Urbi et Orbi message resonate deeply.
"May the Risen Lord grant that the strength of his life, peace and freedom be experienced everywhere. Today the words with which the Angel reassured the frightened hearts of the women on Easter morning are addressed to all: “Do not be afraid! ... He is not here; he is risen (Mt 28:5-6)”. Jesus is risen, and he gives us peace; he himself is peace. For this reason the Church repeats insistently: “Christ is risen - Christós anésti.” Let the people of the third millennium not be afraid to open their hearts to him. His Gospel totally quenches the thirst for peace and happiness that is found in every human heart. Christ is now alive and he walks with us. What an immense mystery of love!
Christus resurrexit, quia Deus caritas est! Alleluia!"
Christ is Risen, because God is Love. Alleluia!