“Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5-6).
These words of the angel at the empty tomb speak to the core of our Easter joy—that Jesus Christ, who had died, is alive! It is the Risen Christ whom we
celebrate today that we also seek. It is Jesus, raised from the dead, who gives us “every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Ephesians 1:3). As we share in the Holy Eucharist today and renew our baptismal faith in Jesus, raised from the dead, we receive countless blessings from God. Among the greatest of these blessings is the truth that death has been voided of its power. No longer do we go through life hopeless, as though the end of life on earth is the final end; rather, death and dying have forever been transformed, as a gateway into the eternal life of heaven. It is this blessing that we celebrate on Easter Sunday. We not only remember Easter, but we are made true sharers in the new life of Jesus Christ, through Baptism and the Eucharist. Let me show you more…
Every year on Easter, we are invited to renew our baptismal promises. This renewal serves to reconnect us with the basic truth of our relationship with God—that we, though born into the world with sin on our souls, have been saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Therefore, we reaffirm our faith and our commitment to Jesus Christ and our desire to live with Him forever. Having reaffirmed our faith, we are sprinkled with the holy water as a sign that we were once washed clean of sin in the very moment of our baptism, and that we want to live the new life more perfectly and completely from this moment forward.
Having been renewed in our life of faith in Christ—the life in which death has no power over us (see Romans 6:1-11)—we then partake of Jesus’ life in the Eucharist. Our receiving of His Body and His Blood proclaim His death and resurrection until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26) and it places His life within us (see John 6:53-59). Simply stated, our receiving of the Eucharist makes present in us, here and now, the eternal life that is Jesus Christ. We do not need to wait for heaven to have life. He gives us His life now! Having His life within us, we are called to live this newness forever. We need not go backwards in our faith. Rather, Easter provides us with all that is good so that we can continue in the new life of Christ, turning away from past sins. If you gave up something for Lent, or developed a more consistent prayer life during Lent, Easter commits us more deeply to the progress we may have made, living the new life of Jesus Christ, putting old ways behind us.
Do not be afraid! Jesus who is risen from the dead is our source of life. He will give you all that you need to spiritually bear fruit, today and for the rest of your earthly life. He has given you the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven. These are among the blessings of Easter—may you know them in your celebration today, and forever.