Alleluia! It is Easter! Christ is risen! In the Apostles’ Creed we recite: “On the third day, he (Jesus) rose again from the dead”. The Resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of Christian faith. St. Augustine affirms emphatically: “The faith of Christians is the resurrection of Christ. It is no great thing to believe that Jesus died; even the pagans believe this, everyone believes it. The truly great thing is to believe that he is risen”. If we do not believe in the Resurrection of Christ, our faith is in vain. Belief in the death and resurrection of Christ is the foundation of Christianity.
Perhaps the oldest written testimony to the Resurrection of Christ comes from St. Paul: “For I delivered to you first of all that what I also received: that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again, according to the Scriptures; and that he was seen by Cephas, and after that by the eleven. Then he was seen by more than 500 brothers at once, of whom many are still with us and some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. And last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time”. (1Cor. 15: 3-8)
The core of the testimony whether of Paul, of the Evangelists or of Mary Magdalene is the same: ‘The Lord is risen and was seen alive’. While the empty tomb bears witness to the fact of resurrection, the appearances of the Risen Lord to various people, as mentioned in the New Testament, are the decisive facts. Mary Magdalene was the first one to see the Risen Lord and she ran to announce it to his disciples: “I have seen the Lord” (Jn. 20:18).
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But it is not just the commemoration of a 2000 year old historical event. The Risen Lord is alive and is seen and experienced even today. The good news of Easter is that we do not have to wait until we die to share in the power of the resurrection, for Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you whoever believes has eternal life…. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”. (Jn. 6: 47, 54). Therefore, it is not just a future possibility, but a present reality.
Explaining what Easter is all about Mark Link puts it so well: “Easter invites us to let Jesus help us trust once again, after we have had our trust betrayed. It invites us to let Jesus help us love once again, after we have had our love rejected. It invites us to let Jesus help us hope once again, after we have had our hope destroyed to pieces. It invites us to let Jesus help us pick up the broken pieces and start over again after we were ready to give up. This is what Easter is all about. It’s the good news that the risen Jesus is in our midst right now…… It’s the good news that nothing can destroy us any more – not pain, not sorrow, not rejection, not sin, not even death itself”. That is what Easter is all about. That is the power of resurrection. Let us experience it. Let us rejoice in it. Alleluia!
I wish all of you all the blessings of the Risen Lord, especially hope, love, joy peace and life in the Risen Lord. Happy Easter!