“He has risen; He is not here” (Mark, 16:6)
During Easter the Catholic Church announces to her members the same message that the angel proclaimed to the holy women on the first Easter: “Christ is risen.”
In the course of the past few days we lived in spirit the tragic scenes of the first Holy Week. We beheld Christ nailed to the cross, to die in agony; and in the evening of Good Friday we saw His dead body placed in the tomb. His enemies were triumphant; His friends were filled with sorrow and dismay.
But in the early hours of Sunday morn the soul of Christ returned to His body and He came forth glorious from the tomb, never to suffer or to die again. Thus He proved to the world that He is truly the Son of God, and that He has conquered sin and the powers of evil.
We are intimately united with Jesus Christ because we are members of His Mystical Body. His glory and triumph in a sense belong to us. Just as He rose from the tomb, bright and glorious, so we are destined one day to be united in body and in soul and to rise from our grave to enjoy forever the bliss of eternal life. Hence, Easter Sunday is for us a day of rejoicing, because it reminds us of the sublime goal for which we have been created.
However, this privilege will be granted us only if we are faithful to our obligations as members of Christ's Mystical Body--which means that we must make our lives like to the life of Our Lord Himself. Like Him we must be willing to endure suffering in the spirit of full conformity to God's will, repeating from our heart the words He spoke in the Garden of Olives: “Father, not my will but thine be done.” Like Him we must bear our cross patiently, for He said: “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt., 16:24). Like Him, we must love God with our whole heart and soul, and our neighbour as ourselves. At times, these duties are very hard, but it was only through such deeds that Christ Himself merited the glory of the resurrection. The servant is not above the Master.
In the midst of the uncertainty that pervades the modern world, in the midst of the hatred and strife that are bringing fear and unhappiness to hundreds of millions of human beings at the present day, it is good for us Catholics to bear in mind that whatever may happen in the world we have the assurance of eternal happiness with Our Lord if we are faithful to His commandments.
In times of discouragement and temptation let the thought of the glorious resurrection that will be yours if you are loyal to Christ be your strength and your consolation