At the time of Jesus, the majority of the Jews already believed in the resurrection of the dead at the end of time. It was the hope that gave them the capacity to suffer any number of atrocities. The mother of the Maccabee brothers (2 Maccabees 7) is an example of the outstanding bravery and courage, each springing from the hope in the resurrection from the dead. Belief in the afterlife is a strong motivation that can justify almost any suffering, no matter how painful, like the mother of the Maccabees watching her own children being put to death.

The resurrection of Jesus holds all that promise - reward, punishment and recovery of life - but it brings it all into another level. The problem with life on earth is not only in the unrewarded generosity and unpunished sin, but also in the unanswered doubt: is God himself justified in having created the universe with us in it? Is this horrible and beautiful creation worth it? Are the ugly sins of people and the crumbling nature of creation itself worthy of God?

The act of creating was an act of separating from God; the resurrection will be union with God. By raising Jesus from the dead, God has united himself to humanity and to our world and the universe. By the resurrection our doubt will be overcome, we will come to see that God was right. We were worth it! To him the victory! And we are right there in the midst of it celebrating with him. The resurrection of Jesus makes of this universe, this world, this humanity of ours, a wondrous act, to be celebrated in all eternity.

He will not be along side of us, nor in the neighbourhood, but we shall be in God, and he in us. God will be all in all. That is our reason for wishing you all a happy Easter! Alleluia!

With prayerful best wishes, I remain:

Sincerely yours in Christ our Lord,

+Marcel Gervais
Archbishop of Ottawa