Our Lord’s resurrection is a promise that he too will Make us rise from dead as he did his friend Lazarus
OUR Lord’s Resurrection is a promise that he too will make us rise from dead as he did his friend Lazarus. But our resurrection that Jesus and the Church promise us will even be more magnificent than that of Lazarus.
Today’s feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the basis of the faith of all mainstream believers in the Christian Faith. St. Paul explains it in 1 Corinthians 17-22.
The disciples had all been amazed by Jesus’ having earlier miraculously resurrected from the dead Lazarus and before him Jairus’ daughter, the young man of Naim and possibly others who are not mentioned in the New Testament.
Now the disciples were being made to understand that the resurrection of Jesus the Lord was of an even higher order of reality than that of the resurrection of Lazarus and the others. These would still die, when their time on earth ended—some as martyrs crucified like Jesus, fed to the lions and forced to die as gladiators.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was not a return to earthly life—although he could dwell with us here on earth as he did before his Ascension. And he can even be with us now.
His resurrection that we celebrate today essentially differs from those he had resurrected before the Passion, because in his risen body he transcended bodily death to assume a new life unlimited by time and space.
Jesus, still with a human being’s body, but a body filled with power and glory, is alive as a true man. But at the same time we can see Him—because he has been revealed to us believing human beings through faith and reason — as True God in the person of the Son of God the Father. We see him as a being consubstantial with the Father—one forming with the Father the Holy Trinity, of which the Third Person is their mutual Love and Power, the Holy Spirit.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “the Father’s power ‘raised up’ Christ His Son and by doing so perfectly introduced His Son’s humanity, including his body, into the Trinity.”
That kind of resurrection is what we have been promised to enjoy, as long as we remain “in Christ.”
That resurrection will make us Godlike—we will be divinized, deified, engoddened—as foster brothers of Jesus, but we will not just be “other Christs” (alter Christus) but “Christ Himself “ (Ipse Christus) in a mysterious way. Which is why when we finally earn our “place in heaven” we can see God face to face. And we can also enjoy conversations with Jesus’ and our Mother the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
Christ’s Presence in Christians
SAINT Josemaria Escriva gave an Easter Sunday homily, “Christ’s Presence in Christian,” that is always the meditation I use every year.
He tells us that “Easter is a time of joy—a joy not to be confined to this period of the liturgical year, but a joy to be found truly and fully in the Christian’s heart. For Christ is alive. He is not someone who has gone, someone who existed for a time and then passed on, leaving us a wonderful example and a great memory.” And always tell myself with great sadness, when that immense joy is not making my heart warm and aglow with happiness, that it is because mine is not — despite my struggle or because of the frailty of my struggle — truly and fully a Christian’s heart.
“No [he is not someone who has gone…], Christ is alive. Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: “Can a woman forget her baby that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Even these may forget you, yet I will not.” (Isaiah 49: 14-15] And he has kept his promise. His delight is still to be with the sons of men. [Cf. Proverb 8:31].
“Christ is alive in his Church. ‘I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for f I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.’ (John 16:7) That was what God planned: Jesus, dying on the cross, gave us the Spirit of truth and life. Christ stays in his Church, its sacraments, its liturgy, its preaching—in all that it does.
“In a special way he stays with us in the daily offering of the holy Eucharist. That is why the Mass is the center and source of Christian life. In each and every Mass, the complete Christ, head and body, is present. Per Ipsum et cum Ipso et in Ipso. [Through him, with him and in him] For Christ is the way; he is the mediator; in him we find everything. Outside of him our life is empty. In Jesus Christ, and taught by him, ‘we dare to say: Our Father.’
“We dare to call the Lord of heaven and earth our Father. The presence of the living Christ in the host is the guarantee, the source and the culmination of his presence in the world.
“Christ is alive in Christians. Our faith teaches us that man in the state of grace, is divinized— filled with God. We are men and women, not angels. We are flesh and blood, people with sentiments and passions, with sorrows and joys. And this divinization affects everything human; this is a sort of foretaste of the final resurrection. ‘Christ has risen from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also comes the resurrection of the dead. For us in Adam, so in Christ all will be made to live.” (1 Corinthian 15:20-21)
“Christ’s life is our life, just as he promised his apostles at the Last Supper; ‘if anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’ (Jn 14:23) That is why a Christian should live as Christ lived, making the affections of Christ his own, so that he can exclaim with St. Paul: ‘It is no longer I that live, but Christ who lives in me.’ (Gal 2:20)”
THE Resurrection of our Lord is the fundamental item of Christianity. In the Archdiocese of Metro Manila (including suffragan dioceses in the neighboring provinces, there are only a few parish churches—maybe less than eight— named in honor of the Resurrection and therefore celebrating today Easter Sunday as their feast day.
That must be because Catholics are expected to know—although I think that expectation is more hopeful than it is close to reality—that every Mass is a commemoration of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord.
One of these churches in the Manila archdiocese is the Resurrection of Our Lord parish whose photos we have on this page. It is in BF Homes, Parañaque City. It has an impressive stained glass rendering of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Our cover by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens is to me the most powerful realistic painting of the Resurrection. Rubens also painted the Resurrection of Lazarus in the inset.