Christ is Risen! He is Risen!

Dear friends,

On this long awaited Easter Sunday I wish you and your families a blessed Easter. May we know more fully within our own hearts the everlasting Joy and Peace of the Risen Christ. And may your children and grandchildren, little nieces and nephews, also know the added joy of chocolate Easter eggs, though not too many, lest the joy quickly turn into the sadness of aching stomachs.

In the Eastern Catholic Church they have a traditional greeting that people exchange on this special day: the one who initiates the greeting says “Christ is Risen!” while the other responds with “He is Risen indeed!” or “He is truly Risen!!” Easter is the Feast of Feasts, the joyful celebration of the true event of Christ’s Resurrection, and what makes this feast even more joyful, is that it is also the celebration of our own Resurrection in Him.

What exactly does the Resurrection mean for us? We know that it has something to do with our bodies being raised up at the end of time, and not only that, but according to St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians, these lowly bodies of ours will be transformed to be like the glorious body of Christ (Philippians 3:21). New Glorious Bodies!!! That is certainly Good News! Especially for the man struggling with aches in every joint, who told me the other day: “Father, growing old is the pits.”

But what about now, does the Resurrection of Christ have significance for our life in the here and now?  To help us understand its impact and relevance for our daily life, there is an excellent book by Caryll Houselander called “The Risen Christ: the Forty Days after the Resurrection.” Here are just a few excerpts from her book to lead us in a reflection on the grace of the Resurrection for our lives:

“Christ took our human nature for His own and gave us His. Christ has lived each of our lives, He has faced all our fears, suffered all our griefs, overcome all our temptations, labored in all our labors, loved in all our loves, died all our deaths. He took our humanity, just as it is, with all its wretchedness . . . and gave it back to us just as His humanity is, transfigured by the beauty of His living, filled full of His joy. He came back from the long journey through death, to give us His Risen Life to be our life.

He has come back as spring comes back out of the ground, renewing the earth with life, to be a continual renewing of life in our hearts, that we may continually renew one another’s life in His love, that we may be His Resurrection in the world.

In every life there are many secret resurrections. In our sin, we are the tombs in which Christ lies dead, but at the first movement of sorrow for sin He rises from the dead in us, the life of the world is renewed by our sorrow, the soul that was in darkness radiates the morning light. In the moment that we are forgiven, the world is flooded with forgiveness.

All day long, all over the world there is resurrection. Our Lord has told us how we are to lead the Risen Life, and He has shown it to us. It is to be a life of love, love that creates, love that fills up the measure of each life with joy. Love that is light and peace. Love that forgives and heals and sustains, that makes us one. Love that gives life to the world and gives beauty to life. Love that is food and clothing and water for thirst. Love that is bread. It is the love of the Eternal Father for His only Son, given to us, and it is given to us for ourselves and for one another.”

May our Easter Season be an Easter of many resurrections, of love’s resurrection in our hearts, and a greater love for God and for each other. People will know we are Christian, that our hearts have been raised up, by the way we love. Every victory over selfishness and indifference announces Resurrection. Every sincere act of kindness, forgiveness, generosity, and thoughtfulness are visible, sacramental signs of a risen heart. May God bless us with this Easter grace so that we may know the fullness of joy and life in His Son.

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