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He's gone!

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The mother of all fears is death; that is, every single fear that anyone of us ever has is the child of the universal fear, death. The empty tomb proclaims that in and through Jesus Christ, "death -- fear" has been conquered then, now and forever.

Father James
Ronan

There is no other startling, unbelievable proclamation that has more global significance then or now. Arriving at the tomb in which the body of Jesus had been laid, the women find it empty and gasp in astonishment, "He's gone!" The drama that plays out on that early Sunday morning 2,000 years ago, continues to ripple through the ages. Each new generation seeks to grasp the mystery and the importance of the truth that death has been conquered.

Our mortality is close to each of us -- the more so as the years gather and illness and weakness become our companions. The mother of all fears is death; that is, every single fear that anyone of us ever has is the child of the universal fear, death. The empty tomb proclaims that in and through Jesus Christ, "death -- fear" has been conquered then, now and forever.

So why is it that in each of us and all around us, fear is so prevalent? It is insidious and works its way into our sense of self, our relationships, our social life, our work and career performance. Fear can impact and shape every waking moment and shape how we see ourselves, others and the world around us. In fact, fear is the enemy of life; to live in fear is to not be fully alive.

Escape from fear is something everyone seeks, directly or indirectly. We're likely to think of it as a future glance and objective wherein we earn or attain certain accomplishments, possessions and status that free us from all fear. All efforts to this end are illusions. They are like taking an aspirin -- it cures nothing and for a while only masks the pain.

The antidote to fear is never found outside of ourselves. It is found within and through the gift of faith -- faith in a God who creates each and sustains all. To trust and to believe in the omnipotence of this God who can even be concerned and involved in every person, without exception is the only remedy.

For me it comes down to love. I believe in love. I have seen it, known it, witnessed it, received and given it, celebrated and mourned it, yearned for it and been astonished by it. To believe in love is to believe in the antidote of fear.

The emptiness of the tomb of Jesus carries significance beyond measure: Christ is risen, death has been conquered forever, and fear no longer need control our lives.

FATHER RONAN IS PASTOR OF ST. MARY - ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA PARISH IN CHARLESTOWN.

Father James Ronan is pastor of St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena parish in Charlestown, Massachusetts

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