St Francis Q&A

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Do You Believe in the Resurrection?

Happy Easter!! Christ is Risen!! This is Easter week, technically called the Easter Octave. During these eight days, each day is a solemnity (the highest feast day), celebrating Easter each day as if it were Easter Sunday. The time for fasting is over! Now, we feast because the Lord is risen!

The most fundamental question for any Christian is, 'do you believe in the Resurrection?' It may seem like an easy question, and most of us would quickly answer with an obvious 'yes'. But, why do you believe in the Resurrection? What does it mean to believe in the Resurrection? Does Jesus' Resurrection from the dead change your life? Why or why not? In sum, does your life show that you believe in the Resurrection?

This is normally stuff that we Catholic Christians take for granted. But, having just put ourselves in the places of the Apostles and disciples during Christ's passion, death, and resurrection, we should have a renewed sense of the awesomeness of these events. First, we shared in the sorrow and anguish of seeing Christ suffer and die. For his disciples, Jesus' death must have been an amazingly crushing blow. He who showed so much power appeared so powerless. His situation which had brought so much hope seemed hopeless. His life ended. He died. He's gone.

But, then, three days later, He's risen! What utter and incomprehensible joy the disciples had! "I have seen the Lord", Mary Magdelene emphatically told the Apostles. They were beside themselves with happiness, hope, and joy! He who had truly experienced death is now back...truly risen from the dead! There is no limit to his power and majesty! And, so, they lived the rest of the lives in this happiness, hope, and joy. Their lives reflected all that Christ's Resurrection brings - hope in despair, happiness in sorrow, joy in sadness, peace in unrest.

Do I really believe that Jesus "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried... and on the third day he rose again"? The same flesh and blood that experienced death is now living. If this is true, everything changes. He can conquer anything. For me individually, he can conquer any situation in my life that seems hopeless. For us corporately, he IS who he said he is: the Son of God, our Savior, our Messiah. Everything he said and taught was true. He is the one to follow, and he is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life".

But, if he didn't rise from the dead, he is a liar and a blasphemer. "If Christ has not been raised, (our) faith is vain...we are the most pitiable people of all" (1 Cor 15:17,19)


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