The Easter Season is a time of great hope as the Church celebrates the miracle of Christ's resurrection, rejoices in His promises, and receives the great gift of the Holy Spirit. Hope is born because of the Easter moment. The brilliance of Easter light has eclipsed the darkness of Good Friday. In the light of the resurrection, our faith finds an anchor, which is hope. In resounding alleluias sung with jubilation, God gives every believer hope in a future that includes eternal life with Him.
In the early Church, the anchor evolved the symbol of Christian hope. It became important during the period of Roman persecution of Christians because it was used as a disguised cross and a marker to guide the way to secret meeting places where prayer and worship would occur. As first century Christians were tortured by their persecutors, they looked at the resurrection of Christ as their ultimate hope, trusting that their sufferings would lead to eternal life.
In Scripture the Letter to the Romans tells us hope is to be found in Jesus, who while we were yet sinners, died and rose to bring redemption. The First Letter of Peter is sometimes called the "gospel of hope." Written about 30 years after the resurrection of Christ, the author tells the early Christians that they have been "reborn to a living hope through the power of Christ's resurrection from the dead." The reason for real hope is that Jesus Christ is alive. The powers of death and darkness could not contain him, and with faith and hope, they will also not be able to contain us.
For a Christian hope is more than mere wishful thinking. In common speech we often say that we wish or hope something would happen or not happen. Hope is an eager expectation that something is certain to happen. If we consider the anchor as a symbol of hope, we can truly begin to understand hope and its connection to the resurrection.
An anchor keeps a ship from drifting away as it is moored to a port. True Christian hope ties us to God in whom we find rest and consolation. Hope keeps us anchored in God so that when the storms of life come our way, and we encounter turbulent waters, we are steadied and grounded. Anchoring a ship allows it to stay at home after a long journey. If our souls are truly anchored in God, we too will one day be at home with him and have a share in the resurrection.
As we celebrate the Easter Season, let's recall that Christ is our hope, alive and active in the world. Our faith in the resurrection invites us to put our trust the promises of God revealed in Jesus. Like the early Christians, we can set our sights on a glorious life beyond us with the certainty that God is with us. No matter how difficult we think the problems of today are, a glorious future awaits us. Celebrating the resurrection means that we have living hope, a guarantee of victory over darkness.