St. Augustine once said that there is nothing great in believing that Christ died, because non-Christians also believe it, but the great thing is in believing the Resurrection of Christ, which is the foundation of Christian faith. For the Christian, the Resurrection is the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise when he said, “I have the power to lay down my life, and I have the power to take it up again (Jn 10:17-18),” and “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up (Jn 2:19-20).”
Easter is the commemoration of the Resurrection of the Lord. It coincides with the revival of life from the cold of winter to the warmth of spring. But as we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, we must not forget that for us, the resurrection is yet to come. Likewise, we cannot ignore the intimate connection between the Cross and the Resurrection. For Jesus, exaltation came through the Cross, and for us, there is no other option, for “no servant is greater than his master (Jn 15:20).” Those who cut short the path from cross to glory by claiming salvation based on a one-time spiritual experience that is short-lived, unfortunately confuses true faith with false assurance.
The Resurrection not only affirms Jesus’ victory over death, it also reminds us to constantly return to the words and deeds of Jesus in the Gospel. We are called to live and proclaim Christ’s victory through our actions: by finding joy and beatitude in resisting the temptation to sin and to fight against the culture of hedonism, materialism, violence and death. The words from the Easter sequence capture this sentiment beautifully: life and death are locked in wondrous struggle; the struggle endures, but ultimate victory is assured by Jesus Christ; life’s leader, once dead, reigns as the living one.
Christ has indeed risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, but his work of salvation continues in the Church. And what is so great about the Catholic Church is that it not only offers us the fullness of Christian faith through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, it also offers the fullness of the means to salvation through the correct and complete profession of faith, the full sacramental life with the seven sacraments, and an ordained ministry that comes from an unbroken line of apostolic succession. We have so much to be thankful for. Let Easter remind us to do our part in continuing God’s work of salvation.
This year, the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission celebrates the Mass of Easter Sunday on April 21 at 10:30 am (Chinese) and 2:00 pm (English). All are invited!