Children of the light. the light of Easter!
March 31, 2013 Children of the light. the light of Easter!
"The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 638).
"The mystery of Christ's resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness" (639). There are especially two signs of the resurrection: the empty tomb and the appearances of the Risen Christ.
The empty tomb. "In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection. Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all.". The Gospel of John says that when the apostle enter the tomb, he also "saw and believed": "This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus" (640). Lazarus came out of the tomb "tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth". Jesus had to say "Untie him and let him go.". Peter instead "saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths, but rolled up in a separate place". That is to say, the position of the burial cloths makes sure for the disciples that nobody could have robbed the body of Jesus.
The appearances of the Risen One. "Mary Magdalene and the holy women. were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection before the apostles themselves.ÿThey were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter and the Twelve are the primary "witnesses to his Resurrection", but they are not the only ones - Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles" (641).
"Given all these testimonies, Christ's Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact.". We need to recognize that "the shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection" (643). After ten quotations of the Scripture in which we see episodes of doubts among the apostles, the Catechism concludes: "Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus" (644).
The condition of Christ's risen humanity. "By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus. invites [the apostles]. to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion" (645). The Risen Jesus has a real body, and the same body.
On the other hand, "Christ's Resurrection was not a return to earthly life. In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space" (646). "The innermost essence of the resurrection", that is to say, "his passing over to another life", is not at all "perceptible to the senses". "Although the Resurrection was a historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles' encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains. a mystery of faith" (647).
"Christ's Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history. In it the three divine persons act together as one. The Father's power "raised up" Christ his Son". "St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God's power through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus' dead humanity" (648). "The Son. effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power" (649).
3. The meaning of his resurrection for us
"Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised". Because "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (651). "Christ's Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life" (652). "The truth of Jesus' divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection" (653).
The resurrection is the cause of our spiritual life and of our own future resurrection: "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. This new life is above all justification. God's grace. the newness of life. Justification. brings about filial adoption. We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son" (654). "Finally, Christ's Resurrection - and the risen Christ himself - is the principle [.] of our future resurrection" (655; cf. 658).
Let us rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord. His historical resurrection is the hope of our own resurrection. This faith is central in Christian life. It is the reason for which Christians don't die the same way, but in peace. It is the reason for which Christians don't live the same way, they live in peace. A fable cannot give you peace in front of the anxiety of death. The truth of the Resurrection gives meaning to our life, and joy to every life, because it is the happy end of the Story of our Brother Jesus Christ, and the happy end of our own history. Happy Easter!