The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Holy Mass images...: Easter: Jesus' Resurrection

John 20:1-9

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciples went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but he did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciples also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

There was a custom in the ancient Church, and for many centuries after, that when Christians met during the Easter season on the street or in the workplace, or at church or wherever, they would greet each other with an Easter invocation. Rather than simply saying, “Hello,” or “How are you?” the first would greet the other by saying, “The Lord is risen!” To which the other would respond, “He is risen, indeed!” What a marvelous practice, and one we could adopt today, especially when we meet our brothers and sisters in Christ as we gather for Sunday worship.

There are those who would like to reduce Christianity to a system of ethics, or to a philosophy, or to a set of principles by which one may live their life in a noble and worthy fashion. Certainly, Christianity has an ethical tradition. Certainly, Christianity, especially Catholicism, has a rich philosophical tradition. Certainly, Christianity offers a set of principles by which one may live a life that gives God glory. But Christianity can be reduced to none of these. For the good news the apostles set out to proclaim after the Resurrection and after Pentecost, in Jerusalem and throughout Judea, and then throughout the Mediterranean world, and then throughout the whole world was not “Love your neighbor!” Rather, the good news they proclaimed was, “Jesus is risen!”

Without the Resurrection, there is no Christianity. As St. Paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor 15:17). If Christ is not raised, we are fools, and we remain in our sins. It is because of the Resurrection that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live the life of Christ, to live a life that gives God glory. Without the Resurrection, we are dust. Christ is dust. There is no life after death, and we are hopeless living in our sins and in a world that is wrought with little else but pointless suffering and death. As the cynical say, “Life’s a bitch, and then you die!” But, because Christ is raised from the dead, there is meaning to our lives and even to our suffering. He suffered once for all, and now He lives in glory.

The sacrifice Jesus offered for the sins of the world was not merely His dead body on a cross. The sacrifice Jesus offered for the sins of the world was His life, lived in perfect obedience to the will of the Father. It was this life, lived in perfect obedience to the will of the Father, that led Jesus inevitably to the cross, not because the Father demanded His death, but because the world would not tolerate such a life. What the Father demanded was Jesus’ perfect obedience, and Jesus offered that, even unto death. It was because of this that the Father raised Him to glory and gave Him the Name above every other name.

That promise is extended to us, as well. We are called to live a life of perfect obedience to the will of the Father, in imitation of Jesus. This will cause suffering, because our Christian ethics is contrary to the ethics of this world, because our Christian philosophy is foolishness to this world, and because the Christian principles by which we live are detested by this world. As such, we will suffer. But if we unite our sufferings to those of Christ on the cross, we will be raised to glory. That is the promise. If you suffer with Him, you will also be glorified with Him (Rom 8:17).

However, it is not only those sufferings we endure because we are faithful to Christ that are redemptive. The sufferings we endure simply by virtue of our human condition can also be united to the sufferings of Christ for our redemption, for the redemption of our loved ones, and even for the redemption of the whole world. To be human is to suffer: to suffer the loss of a loved one, to suffer the loss of good health, to suffer so many disappointments and setbacks. These sufferings, too, can be united to those of Christ on the cross and, if we bear them patiently, are efficacious for our redemption. If we suffer with Him, we will be raised with Him. That is the promise of the Resurrection – that we will be raised to share in the very nature of God by the power of Christ’s Resurrection.

The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

3 thoughts on “The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!

  1. He is risen, indeed!!!

    May the risen Christ restore your health so that all can be blessed by you for many years to comeπŸ˜πŸ™πŸ˜πŸ™πŸ˜

    Liked by 1 person

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