Life & Soul Life and Soul

The Word this Week: Our alienation and the Father’s gift

Resurrection (1457-1459), by Andrea Mantegna

Solemnity of the Resurrection

The Scriptures throughout the Easter Liturgy, beginning with the Easter Vigil itself, tell our story. It is a history embracing all peoples in every generation. At the same time, it is a uniquely personal history, to be embraced and lived out in the individuality of each of us. At the heart of this history, giving meaning and direction to all, is Christ the Risen Lord. In his rising from the dead he has become the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. To him all ages belong.

Easter is the triumphant conclusion of a story that reaches back to creation itself. The man and woman were created in the image and likeness of the Father’s love, called to bear fruit in a love that is both given and received, a love to be lived out in the Creator’s embrace. It was in that same Creator’s love that we were called into being: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Before the world was made, he chose us in Christ, to live through love in his presence.”

The account of the Fall is likewise our story. The man and the woman experienced the consequences of their transgression as an isolation that made them strangers both to God and to each other. Like them, we have experienced the alienation that breeds hatred and division.

The generations that followed, despite the Covenants with Noah, Abraham and Moses were unable to make any consistent response to the Father’s love. Like them, we can look back on the many blessings received and frustrated by sin. Through Lenten repentance, we perceive that sin is something more than the sum total of our transgressions: it is a power at work within us, frustrating the Father’s loving purpose.

St Paul proclaimed the death and resurrection of Jesus as our deliverance from sin and its pervasive power. In death, Christ took to himself the sins of the world, and in so doing became what Paul described as the Father’s abundant free gift, a gift that we could never deserve.

More than this, in his Resurrection Christ becomes the power of God at work in the heart of every believer: “When he died, he died, once and for all to sin, so his life is now life with God; and in that way you too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.”

On that first Easter morning, the women rejoiced that Christ was alive. Peter, running to the empty tomb, was amazed. We confess that Christ is truly risen. More than this, let us rejoice that his power is at work within us, raising up a broken world.