“And if Christ has not been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15)
Saint Paul is on to something. If Jesus of Nazareth had not been raised, we would have accounted God on false perimeters. Jesus would have offered us a world view with good morals and ideas, but our acceptance of them would be purely subjective and based on attraction. We wouldn’t see Jesus’ teachings as eternally binding, as an expression of the new covenant relationship that God intended to establish.
We wait in the silence of the tomb, knowing that as a bride waits her husband, as the watchman attends at sea, we too will hear Your footsteps, O Jesus. All our waiting will be worthy of such joy, all our silence will find a new voice in the great act of your resurrection, an act that changes the whole course of humanity.
For Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Resurrection of the enfleshed God is more than just resuscitation of a dead man. For if it was an act of resuscitation, it would be of no wonder to us since that would be the miracle of doctors. Yet, the Holy Father offers something deeper:
Resurrection of the Son of Man was utterly different. Jesus’ Resurrection was about breaking out into an entirely new form of life, into a life that is no longer subject to the law of dying and becoming, but lies beyond it – a life that opens up a new dimension of human existence … Christ’s Resurrection is either a universal event, or it is nothing. (Jesus of Nazareth, Volume II, p.224)
On this holiest of all nights, we rejoice that our victory is found in Christ! He has trampled death, he has crushed the head of evil and we are made new. On this day, renew your baptismal promises, come and meet the LORD JESUS at Church.
May your renewal of baptism be filled with abundant joy in the life of Jesus Christ!
In this season, I remember with great affection, my mentor and teach, Father Paschal Cheline, OSB, who during the Season of Lent was called to his eternal reward!