In recalling Christ’s Resurrection we are called to a deeper faith.
We have spent 40 days – sometimes it seems like 40 long days – preparing for this Sunday of the Resurrection. Why do we expend such spiritual, and sometimes physical and emotional energy, getting ready for this day?
It is because the Resurrection of Christ is the central motif of the Paschal Mystery. It does not replace His suffering and death nor his glorious Ascension into heaven. It stands at the centre of the mystery by which we are redeemed and it stands at the very centre of Christianity.
In the face of regular ridicule throughout the centuries, even to today, and in the face of enormous indifference, the Church asserts that Jesus Christ arose in his human body.
Let’s stop and consider that claim, which we know and believe to be true. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then he decomposed in the grave like every other man. If he is dead and decomposed, then he is like any other teacher, guru or prophet. He cannot help us and we are left alone to our own devices trying to live good lives and to get to heaven.
The fact that Christ rose from the dead in his human body shows that it was not any man who died on the Cross but it was the Son of God. Christ demonstrated that he is stronger than death and that on that first Easter morning, deep at the very centre of things, a door had closed, a chapter had ended. Death and the Devil have lost and life and Christ have won. For the friends of Christ the grave is no longer the end but the beginning of a life that will never end.
But it’s not just all in the future. The Resurrection of Christ provides for us in the here and now strength to support us when we are tempted by sin, by despair or by doubt or by difficult questions. It gives us consolation about the fate of our loved ones who have died. It gives us hope that all the disappointments of life are not the full picture nor even the real picture.
We must add too that in the sphere of the sacramental and mystery, the Resurrection of Christ is accessible to us. Not in the sense of a secret, hidden or magical power, but in the sense that through outward and visible signs, like water, bread and wine, this power of Christ that overcame death continues to act in and for those who have joined Christ in baptism.
This is not what we have earned, merited or deserved. It is pure gift from the mercy and love of God.
We spend the next 40 days pondering on the awesome reality of Christ’s Resurrection and appreciating our experience of its power through our worship at Mass. Just as we have faithfully prepared for today through Lent, so too may we in the Easter Season grow deeper in our faith, which to some is foolishness and to others is intolerable, but to us who have been claimed in Baptism, it is the source of real and lasting life.