Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Power of Resurrection

Happy Easter friends, near and afar—Christus surrexit sicut dixit! Today the Church celebrates the holiest feast of the liturgical year, the solemnity of the Resurrection of our Lord. 

The Easter feast of course calls to mind the historical Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the cornerstone of our faith—the one truth of which St. Paul says without which our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14). Alleluia and praise to the risen King!

But more than that, the Feast of the Resurrection reminds us that we, too, shall one day rise again in glorified flesh to stand before the Lord of Hosts. The Resurrection of Christ, "the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep", (1 Cor. 15:20), is merely the first flowering in what will become the blossoming of the human race united with Christ our head. As Job says, "And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I will see my God" (Job 19:26). 

Yet, Resurrection means even more than this. It means in this life, here and now, through the grace merited by our Lord Jesus we, all of us, even the most miserable, can rise above our sins and live a life of holiness unto the Lord.

St. Augustine says that he power of the Lord to help us rise from mortal sin to newness of life is exemplified by the three resurrections in the Gospels: the the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Nain, and that of Lazarus. The daughter of Jairus had just died when she was resurrected; St. Augustine says this signifies those souls who have just fallen into a single mortal sin and speedily repent. The son of the widow of Nain had been dead a bit longer—he was being carried out of the city on a bier prepared for burial. St. Augustine says this is the sinner who has allowed his sins to become habitual, and but for the intervention of grace is swiftly moving down the path to damnation. Then there is Lazarus, who has been dead so long for so long that his flesh has rotted "he stinketh" says the Gospel of John. Here is the man who is so long dead in his sins that all human hope for his salvation has been lost. The very sight of the man is an offense to God and his character has the stench of corruption. Yet, even this soul, though rotting in his sins, can be saved and restored to grace.

Thus, friend, whomever you are and whatever sins you are struggling with, the power of Christ can confer upon you victory over your sins. You are not called to manage your sins or negotiate or call a truce with them; you are called to victory, and in Him you can have it. Let the same faith you place in Christ's Resurrection be now placed in the hope of your own resurrection from sin through Him.

But Resurrection means yet even more than this. It means, in the most general sense, that evil and injustice do not have the final say. Your personal failures will not define you. Your professional setbacks are not all there is. Family tragedy, resentment, injustice, hurt feelings, fear—none of these things are the last word. In the midst of all the brokenness, even when the deepest darkness swirls about you, you can find the power of forgiveness, hope, and new life. And though the Christian life is always a journey and a battle, the forgiveness and grace and healing you need is not far—in fact, it is right where you are. Right here. Right now:

For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it (Deut. 30:11-14).

The power of the Resurrection is real. It is potent and vibrant and will transform all your weakness into strength that His power may be manifest. 

Blessed Easter everyone.

Mutans Tenebras Ad Lucem
"Turning darkness into light." ~ Pangur Bán

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