Christ The Lord Is Risen: Alleluia, Alleluia!
Christ is Risen Alleluia! Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church. It marks the birthday of our eternal hope. “Easter” literally means “the feast of fresh flowers.” We celebrate it with pride and jubilation.
A couple of weeks ago we started what looked like a hopeless, and an endless journey. Today we have come to the end of that journey. Today is the greatest of all Sundays in the Christian calendar because of the newness of life that it brings. Today a new epoch has completely began. This is because the historical Jesus, who suffered, was crucified, died and was buried has now been glorified.
In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our Faith in Christ, a Faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross…” (CCC # 638).
The short story is that Christ has risen in fulfillment of his promise: “I will rise on the third day.” The battle is over. There is no controversy because Jesus is Lord! Today, we celebrate the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness, and of peace over chaos. We celebrate hope, patience and the fulfillment of God’s Promise to his people. We also celebrate the uniqueness of our religion, the Resurrection of our Lord.
Through his Resurrection, Jesus affirms that he is the Lord of the living and the dead. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then the Church is a fraud and Faith is a sham. But if Jesus really did rise from the dead, his message is true!
One question that we must ask ourselves this Easter Sunday is: Did I resurrect with Christ this Easter? Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus left the linen cloths in the grave. In order words he did not cling to any “worldly” thing or allowed them to pull him down. If we must rise with Christ, we must equally be ready to detach ourselves from all unnecessary things that pull us down spiritually. Through our Lenten observances we died with Christ, so let us rise with him through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Like Paul, today our song should be that of thanksgiving to God: “We bless God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ who in his great mercy has given us a new birth…by raising Jesus Christ from the dead”. This is because Christ’s death was our death and his Resurrection is ours too. Therefore, his joy, glory and triumph are equally ours.
As Christ’s disciples, our testimony from today shall be: “I saw Christ’s glory as he rose…Christ my hope has risen…! Like the apostles, our duty is to spread the good news of the Lord’s Resurrection to the entire world. Like Peter in today’s first Reading we must say to all people: “Now we are those witnesses…we eat and drank with Him after his resurrection…”
Having been raised with Christ, we must act like the living and not the dead. We must seek the things of light, things that are noble and things that glorify God. We must seek heavenly things by living like citizens of heaven rather than “earth bound spirits.” This is what Paul calls us to do today when he says: “Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is…” In other words, we must live the type of life which is worthy of one who has risen and reigns with Christ.
The Church reminds us that Easter, the feast of the Resurrection, gives us the joyful message that we are a “Resurrection People.” This means that we are not supposed to lie buried in the tomb of our sins, evil habits, and dangerous addictions. It gives us the Good News that no tomb can hold us down any longer – not the tomb of despair, discouragement, doubt, or death itself. Instead, we are expected to live a joyful and peaceful life, constantly experiencing the real Presence of the Risen Lord in all the events of our lives. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” (Ps 118:24).
The living Presence of the Risen Lord gives us lasting peace and celestial joy in the face of the boredom, suffering, pain, and tensions of our day-to-day life. For the true Christian, every day must be an Easter Day, lived joyfully in the close company of the Risen Lord.
We are called to be transparent Christians showing others through our lives of love, mercy, compassion, and self-sacrificing service that the Risen Jesus is living in our hearts.
Easter reminds us that every Good Friday in our lives will have an Easter Sunday, and that Jesus will let us share the power of his Resurrection. Each time we display our love of others, we share in the Resurrection. Each time we face a betrayal of trust and, with God’s grace, forgive the betrayer and forget the offense, we share in the Resurrection of Jesus. Each time we fail in our attempts to ward off temptations – but keep on trying to overcome them – we share in the Resurrection. Each time we continue to hope – even when our hope seems unanswered – we share in the power of Jesus’ Resurrection. In short, the message of Easter is that nothing can destroy us – not pain, sin, rejection, betrayal, or death. Because Christ has conquered all these, we, too, can conquer them — if we put our Faith and trust in Him.
Finally, I once watched a local football match at a school playing ground. As I sat down, I asked one of the boys what the score was. With a smile, he replied: ‘They are leading us 3-0 down.’ I said; ‘Really! I have to say you don’t look discouraged.’ ‘Discouraged?’ the boy asked with a puzzled look. ‘Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle? I have confidence in the team and the managers; we shall definitely overcome.’ Truly, the match ended 6-3 in favor of the boy’s team. He waved at me gently with a beautiful smile as he left. I was amazed, mouth wide open; such confidence; such beautiful faith. As I got back home that night, his question kept coming back to me: “Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle?”
LIFE IS LIKE A GAME. Why should you be discouraged when the Almighty God is your Manager? Why should you be discouraged when there is still life? Why should you be discouraged when your final whistle has not sounded? The truth is that many people blow the final whistle themselves, but as long as there is life, nothing is impossible for God and it is never too late for you, for CHRIST is RISEN. Don’t blow the whistle yourself for CHRIST is ALIVE. Be encouraged! Don’t give up!
Fr. Chinua and I, with hearts full of joy and appreciation for all your prayers and support, wish you all a very joyful and Happy Easter with God’s choicest Blessings. … Fr. Jude CSSp