Christ the Lord has risen, alleluia!
Jesus Christ, in His Resurrection, has become the hope of our future resurrection.
For many of us, the long penitential journey of Lent has come to an end, the excitement and beauty of Holy Week has passed, and the joy and celebration of Easter Sunday lies behind us.
So now what?
How does Christ’s Resurrection change my life, today?
The Catechism provides the answer:
…The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings…The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. - #651, 654
Christ opens up the way to a new life. Why do I need a new life?
For me, the answer lies in the two parts of the salvific equation.
I’M A SINNER + I CAN’T SAVE MYSELF = I NEED A SAVIOR
JESUS IS THE SAVIOR = I NEED JESUS
Now let’s break that down…
I’M A SINNER
Original sin is a doctrinal fact. The effects of original sin are manifested in my nature every day. It’s easy to talk about Adam & Eve, the serpent, and that “first” sin, but understanding how that has affected me is a different matter.
I suffer from a fallen nature.
What does that mean? Again, let’s turn to the Catechism:
As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers; subject to ignorance, suffering, and the domination of death; and inclined to sin (This inclination is called “concupiscence.”). #418
This sin thing is no joke. In this life, I’m likely or prone to be affected by a lack of knowledge or information. I’m going to experience pain and distress. I’m going to die. Oh yeah, and I’m going to be inclined to sin…the very thing that causes me to be ignorant, to suffer, and inevitably to die. How crazy is that!?
I CAN’T SAVE MYSELF
This is just a fact. First, I know that I don’t know everything. I’m affected by my lack of knowledge all the time – I make poor decisions, I have to study, I’ve been out-smarted, out-scored, out-thought. Second, I’ve experienced suffering – fevers, flus, injuries, heartaches, tears, loss, anxiety, doubt, fear. And last, I’ve been to enough funerals to know that I’m going to die. That’s REALITY. I’ll never know everything, I’m going to suffer, and I’m going to die and I can’t do anything about it.
I NEED A SAVIOR
I want out of this state of ignorance, suffering, and death. I seriously need and want a savior!
So it makes sense to me, that if Someone appeared on the scene of human history and said,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word…has eternal life; he does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.” – John 5:24
In other words, “I’m the Savior!” That being so, I might want to hear what He has to say. I might want to investigate His claims. I might want to try to find out if any of His promises came true.
JESUS IS THE SAVIOR
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” - Matt 20:18-19
He said it, and it all came true. That is a historical fact. The Resurrection happened, for real. In 2000 years, NO ONE has produced a body, bones, or any evidence to prove otherwise.
Think about that. JESUS ROSE.
Therefore, everything He taught and promised, by default, MUST be true. I don’t know of another person in all of human history who conquered death.
I NEED JESUS
Given all that, I need Jesus. He is the answer.
Jesus is the truth.
All the darkness of my ignorance will be enlightened by Truth Himself.
Jesus is the way.
If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. - Matt 16:24
Where did Jesus go with the cross? To Calvary, to his crucifixion and death.
Suffering now has meaning. Suffering, that negative effect of original sin, now has redemptive value. No Cross, No Resurrection.
For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. - Phil 3:8-11
St. Paul wasn’t worried about money, a nice house, a nice horse (or car), retirement, prestige, power, or fame. He just wanted to know Jesus Christ, share in His sufferings, and attain the resurrection from the dead.
For me, that’s a game changer. I want what St. Paul wanted, for I know where he now rests. I want to be able to say with him,
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
- Phil 3:7
Jesus is the life.
“O death, where is thy sting!” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. - 1 Cor 15:55-58
Jesus is the answer to death. I will physically die, just like everyone else. But Christ has promised that this life isn’t the end, in fact He promised that one day even my body will be reunited with my soul, to dwell with Him for all eternity.
How can I be certain of that?
Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead!
And this is my new life. I try to live this life like the next life matters. I try to become more like Christ, and that means living the Resurrection.
May God bless you and keep you.