Easter Sunday

The Lord is Risen!  Alleluia!  For forty days we have been meditating upon our Lord’s Passion and death.  Today we recall, in a particular way, His Resurrection from the dead; and yet we must realize that the death and Resurrection of Christ cannot really be separated.  In different seasons we focus on different mysteries of Our Lord’s life and death, and as a result, we sometimes compartmentalize these two mysteries, yet the death and Resurrection of Our Lord are two parts of the whole Mystery of our Salvation.

The death and Resurrection of Our Lord cannot really be separated.  It is sometimes said that “we are a Resurrection people.”  However, there could not be an Easter Sunday without Good Friday.  Christ won our Redemption once and for all upon the Cross: by His death.  The Resurrection is the victorious completion of that work of our salvation.

The prayers of the Mass confirm the fact that the death and Resurrection are not to be separated.  Whenever the Lord’s Resurrection is referred to, the Lord’s death is also mentioned.  In the prayers of the Mass for Easter, the Lord’s death is mentioned again and again along with His Glorious Resurrection.  In the Preface of Easter, we praise God for giving us Christ as our Paschal Sacrifice, who destroyed death by dying and restored us to live by rising from the dead.  The Easter Sequence begins by calling all of us, Christians, to praise the Paschal Victim: the Lamb Who shed His Blood in order to reconcile us with the Father.  The Sequence goes on to recount that Life with Death did fiercely strive and through dying Our Leader now reigns alive.  These prays of today’s Mass show us that Lord’s death and Resurrection belong together: together they form the whole of the great Mystery of our Salvation which we are celebrating on this Solemnity of Solemnities.

It is also imperative that we remember that we are not merely celebrating historical events on this Holy Day.  It is true: the Liturgy of Easter commemorates the historical, bodily Resurrection of Our Lord.  Our Catholic Faith is founded upon the historical fact that Our Lord Jesus Christ really, truly, rose from the dead bodily.  We know that the Lord truly rose because of the testimony of many eyewitnesses, the Apostles as well as many others saw Our Resurrected Lord; Saint Thomas touched Our Lord’s resurrected body and placed his finger into Our Lord’s Sacred Wounds.  Saint Paul also teaches us that if Our Lord did not really rise from the dead then our faith is in vain.

The death and Resurrection of Our Lord is a real historical event; and yet it is not only an historical event that has come and gone almost two thousand years ago.  The death and Resurrection of Our Lord is a reality that we continue to come in contact with today.  The merits of Christ’s death and Resurrection are applied to our souls and they continue to affect us.  Everyone who was baptized at the Easter Vigil last night was baptized into the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  At every Mass, Christ’s Sacrifice is re-presented upon the altar.  In the Eucharist we encounter Christ, Who died, rose and is now seated at the Right Hand of the Father in Glory.  When we receive Holy Communion, Jesus nourishes our souls with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

The Lord’s death and Resurrection have merited for us the glory of grace: through our Baptism into His death and Resurrection, we have become adopted children of God; we have become Temples of the Holy Spirit and as long as we are in a state of grace, we share in the very life of God.

We are called to daily take up our cross and follow Christ; we are to die daily to ourselves, so that Christ can raise us up; through Baptism we have become members of the mystical Body of Christ and we continually share in His death and Resurrection in our lives.  We share in His death: we need to continually put our sinful human nature to death and unite ourselves to Christ Crucified.  We are to daily unite our sufferings and trials to those of Our Lord and, in this way, unite ourselves regularly to the Cross of Christ.

We also share in Christ’s victory.  Christ, by His death and Resurrection has won the victory.  Our Lord has already crushed the head of the ancient serpent.  He has opened the gates of Heaven to those who faithfully follow Him.  Christ offers us the grace to share in His victory and conquer sin in our own hearts.  Let us humbly give thanks to God, Who has given us victory through Jesus Christ.  (cf. 1 Cor xv. 57)  May we strive to remain always faithful to Christ, that we may one day share in the fullness of His Resurrection and be with Him forever in Glory.  Amen.