After the horrific violence of Christ’s crucifixion and death, Jesus rises by His own power, and the universe is forever changed. What had seemed like failure, by God’s grace had been turned into ultimate victory – Christ, by death, has conquered death. He has opened the door to a new life, one that no longer knows illness and death, an entire new dimension for humanity.
The glorified Jesus would be seen by Mary Magdalen, Saint Peter, and the rest of the Apostles, not as a ghostly vision or specter, but in a real encounter with a living person. They were able to talk with Him, eat with Him, and witness the marks on his body from the nails and the lance. Nearly all of the Apostles would go on to die testifying to this truth; Jesus Christ is alive, and has overcome sorrow, anguish, and the power of darkness. For us, today, the guarantee of our own future resurrection is secured upon the resurrection of Christ, because although we were once dead through sin – God, in His mercy, with infinite passion and love, gave us His only son, Jesus – and He raised us with Him (Eph. 2:4-6).
From the age of the Apostles until now, the core nucleus of the Christian message remains the same as it ever was; Jesus Christ is alive, and He wants you to be alive. The Resurrection of the Lord is the central reality of the Catholic faith, and has been the pillar of all preaching since the very beginning of Christianity. Saint Paul himself affirms that without the victory of Christ over death, all of our preaching would be useless, and our faith in vain (1 Cor. 15:14-17).
Saint Leo the Great recounts in one of his sermons that Jesus hastened as quickly as possible to rise, because He was in a hurry to console His Mother and the disciples. He was in the tomb strictly as long as was necessary to comply with the three days that had been prophesied. He rose before the sunrise, as soon as He could, when everything was still dark, out of His strong desire to remain close to us. He was the new dawn breaking upon the world with His own light. Jesus hastens to give His light to a world still in darkness, and to banish the darkness and fear in our own hearts, twenty centuries later. This isn’t just some miracle from the past, but is a great leap towards a new future and a new life, which transforms us through faith and the Sacraments.
Do not delay, Jesus – may the light of your Resurrection fill our hearts, today, and bring us to new life with you.