The Resurrection is so much more than a mere Biblical or historical event to be celebrated once a year by believing Christians. It is an event that ought to be lived and celebrated every moment of our earthly existence, because we are truly an Easter people.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the resurrection of Christ as: “The bodily rising of Jesus from the dead on the third day after his death on the cross and burial in the tomb” (CCC glossary).
There is probably not one single Christian who does not profess this in the creed and uphold to its certainty. But how many of us realize its implication in our lives? The Catechism goes on to include in its definition one more reality: “The resurrection of Christ is the crowing truth of our faith in Christ.” What does this mean – “the crowning truth of our faith”? It ought to mean everything. It ought to be the game-changer for every professing Christian. Because of the Resurrection, we know that death is not the end. Like Christ, we too are immortal souls living in a mortal body.
Once upon a time Jesus lived on earth. He is truly God and truly man. He suffered during His Passion, died once, rose from the dead once, and ascended to Heaven once. These events are never to be repeated, and with His Death the gates of Heaven were open wide for all repentant sinners.
Man is made in the image and likeness of God. This means that we, too, live once and die once. We live one temporal life and spend an eternity somewhere else–Heaven or hell. At the moment of our death, we see the risen Jesus face to face, and we receive Particular Judgement. Either our souls go immediately to heaven, some temporarily to purgatory; and some to eternal damnation (see CCC 988-1014).
Three glaringly important truths are revealed by the Resurrection:
- Our eternity is based on how we love here on earth.
- Our time on earth is temporary and the afterlife is eternal.
- We have one life to know, love, and serve the Lord on earth.
Christianity is upheld by these truths of our Faith. St. Paul tells us: “If Jesus is not raised from the dead, our preaching is in vain and we are the most pitiable of men” (1 Cor 15:17). The Resurrection cannot be dismissed as an illusion nor can it be rationalized as a myth or a symbol.
Bishop Barren, commenting on the Resurrections says:
It comes down finally to this: if Jesus was not raised from death, Christianity is a fraud and a joke. But if he did rise from death, then Christianity is the fullness of God’s revelation, and Jesus must be the absolute center of our lives. There is no third option.
…Makes Possible Our Own
One of my favorite Old Testament scripture passages attest to this reality:
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him. -Deut 30:19-20
Eternity rests on our choice. We can either choose for God or submit to the ways of the world. In faith we assent to Jesus as being the Truth, and the assurance of things to come. We can be assured that there is so much more than this world.
What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him. -1 Cor. 2:9
Heaven awaits for the man, woman, and child who conforms to the life of Christ. And He will give grace upon graces to do the will of His Father to those who trust in His ways.
An Easter People
Because of the Resurrection, we can be assured that there is something more for us. Something glorious awaits us! We ought to be the most hope-filled people of all. There will be suffering, but we can exclaim with St. Paul, “We are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). And so, we long for the Heavenly kingdom while sojourning in the earthly one.
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Cheryl Reinking currently resides in Rogers, MN with her husband of 28 years and their three grown sons. When she is not chasing after them on snowmobiles or fishing with them on frozen lakes, she enjoys leading bible study classes and writing.