“Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
These words which were proclaimed so often in Mass for many years, until the new translation of the Roman Missal went into effect a few years ago, remain an announcement of a very important truth of our faith.
The words speak of a very real historical event: Jesus indeed has died; He has given His life for us, and in opening His arms to the wood of the cross embraced the Father’s will and atoned for the sinfulness of all humanity.
Our Profession of Faith says it clearly: “He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He suffered death and was buried.” But, as we know, Good Friday is not the end of the story: our creed continues: “He rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
This event, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the central tenet of our faith — for as St. Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians, “If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty too is your faith … and we are the most pitiable people of all.”
St. Paul goes on to tell us that because Christ was raised from the dead, we too shall also be raised: Death has been overcome and we have the possibility of eternal life.
This is indeed Good News and the reason why we as Church have rejoiced in this great Easter mystery for over two thousand years and will continue to celebrate it until He comes again. Our Creed says it well: ”He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end.”
However, this mystery of dying, rising, and present and future hope is not a single, one time event. It is the way that we embrace the Cross of Christ and enter into the mystery. It is the way that we as Christians live the passion, death and resurrection.
Our world is filled with so much suffering; all we have to do is look at a newspaper, refer to the internet or look at television news stories and we can clearly see that suffering, violence, greed, abuse and grasping for power is rampant in our day: Death is all around us.
It is so easy to be tempted to be pessimists, to despair, to give up hope. But Jesus invites us to move with Him through the horror of the cross to the glory of resurrection.
We CAN find inner peace; we CAN reach out in love and hope and do our part to bring about the Kingdom of God in our midst, for no matter how much darkness envelops us, the Light of Christ will lead us to an experience of hope.
+Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston