Browsing The Seed

Living in Glory

Easter He is risen!

“Christ is risen” – “Indeed, He is risen!” This Easter greeting, at one time shared among Christians with the same joy as so many Christmas greetings are still exchanged today, expresses the essential content of the Gospel: Christ the Lord has risen from the dead! While this is not “news” for any of us, perhaps it has ceased to be the “thrilling” or “good” news that it once was; we believe it, but do we understand what it means for our lives? And do we let that meaning have its effect within us, within our communities, within our world? The resurrection is a “great leap” forward in the progression of salvation. Because Christ has risen from the dead, not only has death been conquered, but a new way of existing and a form of life becomes possible for human beings that prior to the resurrection was simply impossible: a life of glory. Christ has conquered, death has been overcome, God and man have been reconciled, and glory and life reign supreme. 

We believe this – it’s in our bones. And this new life in Christ, which we have all received in Baptism, is not something meant for another world only; glory is not just waiting in the wings for the life to come, but is even now the “treasure” of Christ’s victory, treasure by which Christians may already live. Certainly, glory will not be fully realized until we have journeyed through this vale of tears, but the resurrection means that even now we can live in glory, on earth as in Heaven. The glorious life is not meant to remain a future reality; it is a present reality, something we can already embrace and experience, if only we claim it. This is in many ways the good news we are called to proclaim as Christian people: we must witness to the life that Christ makes possible even in this life, and we must witness to it by striving to live the life of glory He calls us to live, for which He sets us free, a life of grace and virtue, of peace and justice and love. In a characteristically beautiful homily, Pope Saint Leo the Great captures this truth well: 

Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God's own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God's kingdom. Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.” 

Christians must live always by the truth taught by Saint Paul: “You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:19-20). The Resurrection makes possible a new way of living, and we must live this way if we are to become true witnesses to the powerful truth that “Christ has risen!” The message seems incredible, it seems unbelievable to those who have never heard it or who have forgotten it, and in many ways what makes it incredible, unbelievable, is when Christians don’t seem to believe it themselves; the credibility of the Gospel depends in large part on the lives of those who place their faith in it, and whether their lives are being transformed by glory. Total perfection is, of course, not possible in this life, and while we are here we still stumble and struggle as we work out our salvation; we thank God that His mercy endures forever. The war has been won, but the Enemy continues to do battle for souls, and so we must strive daily to remain faithful, and come back with contrition and humility like Peter when we fall short. Faith is the thing that gives us power to live the new life Christ makes possible for us, and this faith comes from the Resurrection; our hope is based on the truth that in the end life wins, light wins, truth wins, goodness wins, and sin and death and evil and darkness and decay are cast asunder. Easter confirms that “love is strong as death” (Song of Solomon 8:6), and in fact it proves that love is stronger than death. We have been set free and must live every day according to the liberty that was bought for us by the Blood of Christ, to live with Easter glory even now, in our bodies and in this world, as we prepare “for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Cor 4:17). May God bless you in these Easter days of joy and always, and may Mother Mary lead you more deeply into the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus. I remain,

Affectionately Yours in Christ,

Fr. Hess

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