“When baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised into his death, we went into the tomb with him, so that as Christ was raised by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.”
The words of St Paul at the Mass of Easter night anticipate the baptismal liturgy in which water is blessed, new parishioners are baptised and all are invited to renew their baptismal promises. Word and action conspire to remind us that already, through our baptism, we share in the death and Resurrection of the Lord. Christ, whose broken body was surrendered by the tomb, is alive in his Church.
Through his Resurrection Jesus was proclaimed “Son of God in all his power”. This was a power that could not be contained by time and space. It would touch the hearts of believers in every generation. This was a power that would overturn the inevitability of sin, enabling us both to hear and live the Gospel.
As Christians, we find it relatively easy to believe that Christ has risen from the dead. This, however, is only half the truth.
The Resurrection which began in Christ is concluded in us, in the belief that the life we live is now hidden with the Father in Christ, and that when Christ is revealed we too will be revealed in all our glory with him. To believe anything less is to fall short of the truth proclaimed in Christ’s Resurrection.
The Resurrection narratives, from the discovery of the empty tomb to the last appearance of Jesus on the shores of Lake Galilee, have one thing in common: faith. When we surrender ourselves and our uncertainties to our living Lord, his power begins to transform our lives. The Apostles discovered an empty tomb, but through their faith became the living signs of Christ’s presence. Those who walked down the road to Emmaus were blind to his presence, but in believing his words, and at the breaking of bread, their lives were transformed.
The Acts of the Apostles bear witness to whole communities transformed by Christ’s living presence. Christ, who had promised that he would be present wherever two or three were gathered in his name, fulfilled this promise in his Resurrection. For these early churches Christ was not the memory of a glorious past, but the daily experience of their lives. The love that they shared had ceased to be mere duty. It had become an encounter with their living Lord. Now at last they truly understood that whatever was done to the least of his brethren was done for him.
Such is the power of Christ’s Resurrection, a power than enables us to die to the sin of the past, and to live each moment sustained by his living presence.
This article first appeared in the latest edition of the Catholic Herald magazine (03/4/15).
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