When Surrender Leads to Freedom!
HAPPY EASTER! Today, we celebrate the victory of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ! He was victorious over all the evil that principalities and powers of this world threw at him. He was victorious even over death itself. If we surrender ourselves to Jesus, his victory will extend to our own victory over all that the world throws at us, even death itself, thus defeating the very fear that has paralyzed our world in this whole past year!
On Palm Sunday, Fr. Brian kicked off Holy Week with a sermon that focused on how God solves the problems of evil and human brokenness, which is far different from how we and our whole world tries to solve problems. We live in a society obsessed with accumulating knowledge and power, thinking them as the keys to be able to wield a false semblance of control over the evils that afflict the human condition. Enter Emmanuel, God-with-us. God is both omniscient and omnipotent. Our human sensibilities tell us that wielding those faculties are the answer to the evil and brokenness that plagues the human race.
And yet, that is not the solution God utilizes to save humanity. The solution he offers us instead is the gift of his very self, surrendering himself in love for our sake in obedience to the will of God the Father. He offers not merely knowledge and power, but shares with us something infinitely greater, the gift of himself, concretely expressed in the Eucharist, his very body, blood, soul and divinity. That gift of his life and love is the remedy to evil and human brokenness.
And therein lies the paradigm for all humanity to follow: surrender. In surrendering ourselves in obedience to the will of God the Father, we no longer limit ourselves to offering just our own limited human faculties. We offer something far more precious… ourselves and our love. That surrender of ourselves in obedience to the Father opens us up the vivifying power of the Holy Spirit, the very life of God that death cannot conquer and that leads to the freedom of the sons and daughters of God!
During Lent, we focused on 1) Fasting, 2) Prayer, and 3) Almsgiving, which are the means by which we surrender and open ourselves up to receive all that God offers. 1. Fasting clears the myriad distractions of the world, allowing the deeper desires within us to awaken. 2. Prayer aligns our will to God’s will. 3. Almsgiving is the concrete expression of our surrender to use all that we are and have in obedience to that divine will.
This full surrender of ourselves leads to authentic freedom, which is not license to do whatever we want, but the capacity to live and fulfill that for which we were made!
Having exercised those spiritual practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in these 40 days of Lent, we now embark on a journey in the 50 days of the Easter season before us with the heartfelt desire to have the very life of God the Holy Spirit to manifest himself in our own lives. In the coming weeks, as we look toward the Solemnity of Pentecost in 50 days, we want to be intentional about manifesting the Holy Spirit’s gifts and producing the Holy Spirit’s fruits in our lives, which is nothing less than the very life of Jesus.
God’s will is for the members of the Body of Christ, you and me, to reveal the life of Jesus here and now to our own family, friends, and all those in our lives who do not know God and his saving love. In a world of division, despair, and death, we are to show the unity, hope, and life of Jesus that springs eternal!
And so, Risen Savior, we pray that your resurrected life empower and be made manifest in our own!
Happy Easter, and have a most blessed Easter season!
Yours in the Risen Christ,
Fr. Chas Canoy