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The fullness of Life

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

The Resurrection of Christ is the central event in the history of the world, in the history of the universe. It is the historical fact that brings all of Creation to its fulfillment in God. Everything that happens, every single event in our lives, including suffering and death, acquire meaning in light of the Resurrection of the Lord.

The event we celebrate this Sunday with special intensity is much more than the reanimation of a corpse. By his Death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has completed God’s work of creation bringing it to its consummation in Him.

Although the Resurrection of Christ takes place at a given moment, in a specific place, it transcends time and space to project its luminosity to the past, the present and the future, towards every corner of the universe, even those that may seem further away from God or refractory to His love.

By His Resurrection, Christ has defeated death. His victory is the victory of God, but it is also the victory of the human nature He embraced by His Incarnation. Therefore, it is also our victory since we share with Him in our common humanity.

Fr. Robert Bauer, SDB whom I had the privilege to have as my professor of Sacred Scripture in seminary, used to remind us that when we say that God struggles or is victorious, we ought never forget that we are using analogical language, since God is God and, therefore, he does not struggle. Fr. Bauer liked to say that God simply says: “next.”

As true as that is, since God is omnipotent and all powerful, as St. Paul points out in the Letter to the Philippians, the Paschal Mystery is about God emptying Himself, assuming our human nature, going to the extreme of submitting to the power of death. Indeed, He is love and is moved by love. He does not ransom us from the power of death by making an ostentatious display of power, but rather entering into solidarity with us. He dies because He is true man, but because He is true God, he emerges victorious from the sepulcher on the third day.

If we allow recourse to a metaphor from Algebra, we could say that by His Passion and Death on the Cross, the Lord approaches asymptotically nothingness to ransom what was destined to dissolve into nothing and give life to it in Him. The Lord not only gives us the gift of life, but He also offers His Life so that in Him and with Him we may participate in the very inner life of the Most Holy Trinity.

The readings for the Easter Vigil introduce us to this mystery. Creation itself is a labor of love by God, its summit is the creation of man, created male and female, created in His image and likeness, namely with a special capacity to participate in the very life of God. The Lord choses a people unto Himself whom He will defend and set free from the oppression of Pharaoh so that from them  the One whom the prophets announce may be born, the One who will bring God’s plan to fulfillment, transforming stony hearts into hearts of flesh, making the entire universe fecund, so that those of us who have died with Him in Baptism may rise with Him to a new life, a foretaste of eternal life that is offered as gift and liberality to everyone.

As Pope Benedict taught us, “life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with Him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with Him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we “live”.”

The Risen Christ does not die! He lives forever!

Every time we come to Mass we participate in a memorial of this mystery of love. We do it in the Biblical sense of the word. We do not remember the Resurrection of Christ as someone who contemplates an event in the past which, even thought it may project its consequences on the present, remains in the past. The celebration of the Eucharist transports us through time and space so that we may be sacramentally present as witnesses of His Resurrection and thus, with the help of the superabundance of grace emanating from that event, we may encounter Him who is alive and, thus, live more fully our condition as human beings created in the image and likeness of God, who have been especially configured to Him by Baptism and participate in His mission as Priest, Prophet and King, people redeemed by Christ who can taste here and now the fullness of life.

Fr. Roberto M. Cid