Christ is risen. Alleluia! His resurrection gives meaning to our lives on earth and the promise of eternal life with him in heaven.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central event in the story of our humanity. The events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are at the core of all that constitutes the Catholic Church, as well as at the core of our central act of worship, the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
The events of the Holy Week are not fables or myths. They are historical facts. Most of those close to Jesus gave up their lives in martyrdom because they witnessed these events and proclaimed them. The forces of evil tried and failed to silence and eliminate these witnesses, and we continue to see these forces at work in today’s world.
The central fact is that the temporary tomb of Jesus became an empty tomb. Those who were with Christ when he died on the cross at first could not believe their eyes when they found the tomb empty. The Roman guards were terrified. The religious authorities plotted to spread a rumor that his body had been stolen. Even Thomas, a trusted Apostles, refused to believe unless and until he could touch Christ’s wounds. However, the fact could not be overcome – he was risen.
Then there were Christ’s post-resurrection appearances to his followers, a few of which are reported in the books of the New Testament. News of these events was also handed down verbally to friends, children, grandchildren and all who listened to their
The consequences of Christ’s resurrection reverberate down through twenty centuries of human history to us now. They present us with our ultimate destiny, eternal life. Body and soul, we are constituted to be with our Father forever in heaven.
Our lives have meaning that no power on earth can either give us or take from us.
The chief consequences of Christ’s resurrection, to my way of thinking, are consolation and hope. The empty tomb gives each one of us consolation and hope. We may fear death, but we are not terrorized by it. Because of Christ’s resurrection, death was changed from being ultimate to being merely transitional.
Because Christ is risen, let all of us take hold of his presence, his power and his love among us. As we celebrate Easter during these days of coronavirus pandemic, the whole world is united in many ways. We are united in fear of what tomorrow will bring, of not knowing if we, our family members, our friends and neighbors will survive this terrible moment. We are in the garden of Gethsemane with the disciples and our faith is being shaken. Many of us are suffering and are tempted to feel that we have nowhere to turn. The pandemic is making the suffering of vulnerable people – the elderly, the sick, the poor and unemployed – even deeper.
The answer to this crisis lies in all of us and in our unity. As people around the world face Easter without the possibility of physical communion, without the possibility of celebrating the Eucharist physically together, we have time to slow down where we can reflect deeply on what “Body of Christ” means for each of us. In the darkness of this crisis, the light of Christ will shine. Jesus is truly risen! He will not die again. The tomb is empty. Today I pray in a special way that our Lord will rise for people around the world through our love, kindness, compassion, and unity.