EASTER SUNDAY: CHRIST’S LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH!
A Blessed and Joyous Easter to All!
“The Lord is truly risen, alleluia. To him be glory and power for all the ages of eternity, alleluia, alleluia (Entrance Antiphon, Easter Sunday,Mass during the day).”
St. Augustine once said that it is not difficult to believe that Our Lord died: even the pagans and Jews believe that. The great thing with our faith precisely is to believe that Jesus Christ has resurrected. St. Paul says: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain (1 Cor 15:14).” Vain is our faith, vain is our hope, all our struggles and our efforts.
“EASTER IS A TIME OF JOY — a joy not confined to this period of the liturgical year, but to be FOUND REALLY AND FULLY IN THE CHRISTIAN’S HEART. FOR CHRIST IS ALIVE. HE IS NOT SOMEONE WHO HAS GONE, SOMEONE WHO EXISTED FOR A TIME AND THEN PASSED ON, LEAVING US A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE AND A GREAT MEMORY (St. Josemaria, Christ is Passing By, n. 102)
It is a time of immense joy because Jesus has triumphed over sin and death and gained for us the new life, transforming us from within, overcoming the life of the old man and making us new creatures with His Own Life. It is a time of joy because HIS LOVE FOR US IS STRONGER THAN DEATH. “’This is the joy of the Easter Vigil: we are free. In the resurrection of Jesus, love has been shown to be stronger than death, stronger than evil (Benedict XVI, “Homily of Easter Vigil 2007).”
Moreover, with His Resurrection, OUR LORD WISHES TO CONFIRM US ON THE TRUTH OF HIS DIVINITY, SHOWING US THAT HE IS TRULY GOD OMNIPOTENT, WHO HAS CONQUERED DARKNESS, DEATH, SIN AND EVIL.
After the sadness of Black Saturday, a joyful day ensues. Illumined by the breaking of the day, the triumph of Christ has become a reality through the HISTORICAL EVENT of his Resurrection. JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE!
Jesus is alive. He is not just a figure to be remembered, a figure which belongs to the past, an abstract mixture of words, actions, promises, empty of content. Rather, JESUS CHRIST IS TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN WHO WAS BORN IN ORDER TO DIE FOR US SO THAT WE MAY HAVE LIFE. DYING HE CONQUERED DEATH; TO THE DEAD, HE HAS GIVEN LIFE.
As sung in the Easter proclamation:
“This is the night in which even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace, and joining them to his holy ones.
This is the night when Christ broke the prison-bars of death, and rose victorious from the underworld.
The sanctifying power of this night dispels all wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners.
O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wedded to those of earth and divine to the· human.”
But let us remember, dear brethren in Christ: The RESURRECTION IS THE FRUIT OF THE CROSS. IN ORDER TO LIVE WITH CHRIST, WE MUST DIE UNTO OURSELVES, AND DIE WITH CHRIST IN ORDER TO LIVE WITH HIM (cf Rm 6:8), as St. Paul says: “For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection… We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus (Rm 6: 5. 9-11).”
- HENCE, TO LIVE THE NEW LIFE IN CHRIST, WE MUST GIVE DEATH UNTO OURSELVES, THE OLD MAN WITHIN US, THROUGH PRAYER, SACRAMENTS AND SACRIFICE IN OUR DAILY LIFE, OVERCOMING OUR DISORDERED PASSIONS SO THAT CHRIST MAY LIVE IN US.
- WE MUST STRIVE TO REJECT AND EMPTY OURSELVES OF WHATEVER WHICH IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH CHRIST’S PRESENCE IN OUR SOUL SO THAT HE MAY FILL US AND LIVE IN US.
- WE MUST LEARN HOW TO LOVE CHRIST’S CROSS AND DIE WITH HIM THROUGH PENANCE, SAYING “NO” TO OURSELVES, OUT OF LOVE FOR GOD, SO THAT WE MAY RESURRECT WITH HIM AS WELL.
Let us then pray with the words of Benedict XVI: “Lord, show us that love is stronger than hatred, that love is stronger than death…In my own dark nights, be with me to bring me forth! Help me, help all of us, to descend with you into the darkness of all those people who are still waiting for you, who out of the depths cry unto you! Help us to bring them your light! Help us to say the “yes” of love, the love that makes us descend with you and, in so doing, also to rise with you. Amen! (Benedict XVI, “Homily of Easter Vigil 2007)”
May the Joy of Christ’s Resurrection fill your life and that of your loved ones! May His Glorious Resurrection renew and “resurrect” each one of us to live the new life which Christ gained for us with His Passion and Death on the Cross and stir us to say “yes” to God’s love and to follow Him faithfully in our ordinary daily life!
A Blessed Joyous Easter to all!
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SUGGESTED READING FOR PERSONAL MEDITATION:
St. Josemaría, “Christ’s Presence in Christians”, inhttp://www.escrivaworks.org/book/christ_is_passing_by-chapter-11.htm
Benedict XVI, “Homily of Easter Vigil 2007 inhttp://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20070407_veglia-pasquale.html