April 20, 2011 // Uncategorized

The Mystery of Easter

We have completed our Lenten journey. Throughout Holy Week, we have honored the memory of Our Lord’s Passion and Death. At the Easter Vigil, we will light the Easter fire and the Easter candle, praising Jesus as the light of the world, the light which dispels all darkness. We will hear the joyful proclamation: “This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.” We celebrate the Easter mystery of our redemption. We sing again Alleluia as we celebrate the joy of Christ’s Resurrection.

The Resurrection of Jesus brought something radically new to human history and to creation. It is an event unlike any other. It far surpasses even the great miracles Jesus performed when he raised the dead, like Lazarus. This is because the Resurrection of Jesus was not just the resuscitation of His dead body. Pope Benedict XVI explains that it was utterly different: “Jesus’ Resurrection was about breaking out into an entirely new form of life, into a life that is no longer subject to the law of dying and becoming, but lies beyond it — a life that opens up a new dimension of human existence … that opens up a future, a new kind of future, for mankind.”

The Holy Father speaks of the Resurrection of Jesus as “an evolutionary leap,” “the greatest mutation, absolutely the most crucial leap into a totally new dimension that there has ever been in the long history of life and its development: a leap into a completely new order which does concern us, and concerns the whole of history.” The Pope has described the Resurrection of Jesus as like an explosion of light and an explosion of love, which “ushered in a new dimension of being, a new dimension of life.”

Do we really grasp the great significance of Easter? It is not just some miracle from the past. This event reaches us today. It comes to us through faith and Baptism. Baptism is part of the Easter Vigil. At Easter Sunday Masses, we renew our baptismal promises and we are sprinkled with the Easter water. The Resurrection comes to us, in mystery, through Baptism, the sacrament of our new life in Christ. As Pope Benedict puts it: “The great explosion of the Resurrection has seized us in Baptism so as to draw us on.”

Amid the challenges and sufferings of life, and even in the midst of the greatest trials, including death, we live in hope because of the Resurrection of Jesus. We live our life in Christ as a journey of faith and a journey of hope. Yes, we walk the way of the cross, but we carry the cross knowing that it is ultimately the triumphant and victorious cross of the Risen Jesus. Amid the struggles of life, we grasp the hand of the Risen Lord and He never lets go of our hand. And we hold one another’s hands in the community of the Resurrection, the Body of Christ, which is the Church.

Through Baptism, we share personally in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Our lives are forever immersed in the mystery of Easter also through the Holy Eucharist. In the celebration of the Eucharist, we proclaim not only Jesus’ passion and death, but also His resurrection. As the Venerable Pope John Paul II wrote: “The Eucharistic Sacrifice makes present not only the mystery of the Savior’s passion and death, but also the mystery of the resurrection which crowned his sacrifice. It is as the living and risen One that Christ can become in the Eucharist the bread of life, the living bread.” In Holy Communion we receive the true Body and Blood of Christ, the pledge of our bodily resurrection at the end of the world. The Eucharist is truly, as Saint Ignatius of Antioch called it, “a medicine of immortality, an antidote to death.”

As we celebrate Easter this year, may we be especially conscious of the great mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus and how we are associated with it through our Baptism and through the Eucharist. We’re talking about a new dimension of life, life in Christ. That is why Saint Paul was able to say: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). This is possible because of the Resurrection.

Jesus Christ is alive and He shares His life with us. We can live “in Him.” This new life in Christ is eternal. It is a life that comes to us as a gift (which is why we call it “grace”) that we are invited to receive in faith. It is given by the One who is Truth, the One who is Love, the One who is “the Resurrection and the Life.”

May you and your loved ones be filled with the joy of the Resurrection this Easter! May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Risen Christ, help us to be joyful witnesses of the Resurrection of her Son!

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