Sunday, April 24, 2011


Happy Easter everyone! For 40 days we have tried dying to self, identifying ourselves with the suffering servant of God, ridding ourselves of sin and darkness. We watched him die on Good Friday, and we waited anxiously, nervously, on Holy Saturday. Today, we celebrate His glorious Resurrection, which broke the bonds of sin and death and opened the gates of heaven. Jesus Christ called all of us to crucify ourselves with Him, letting all of our sins be nailed to the Cross. We were called to die with Him. Now, on this Easter Sunday, we are called to rise with Him. And as we approached the tomb and realized that it was empty, one of the greatest truths was revealed to us: death can't hold Him.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 says,

"When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

This is the celebration today, on Easter Sunday: Victory over sin, and victory over death. It is such an encouraging thought, for all of us, but especially for those who have lost loved ones. A few people that I am really close to very recently lost family members. But because of Christ's sacrifice, now death does not lead to a deadening of ourselves, but to an overflowing, abundant richness of new and full life. The suffering and the pain that we endure in our earthly lives calls us to conform to the will of God for the sake of the heavenly kingdom. When we do conform, we follow in the wake of our Savior - a savior who took it all for us, who experienced all the sorrow, guilt, anxiety, shame, and separation from God that sin creates. We follow Christ to the Cross, and then to the Resurrection. And then we are free.

In Christ, those who have passed away are not really dead - they are more alive than they have ever been! They have more peace, more love, more freedom, and more happiness than they have ever had. They carried their crosses, they crucified their sins, and now, just as Christ did, they burst through the heavenly gates and experience a glorious revelation of God.

And this is what we recognize and celebrate today. This is what we celebrate not only during the 50 days of the Easter season, but during every single moment of our lives, for as Pope John Paul II said, "we are an Easter people!" We are no longer slaves to sin. We are no longer slaves to death. In fact, we laugh at them. They have no sway over us, because of the victory of Christ. If we have died with Him, we must believe that we will also rise with Him.

So come on Church: rejoice! People of God, stand up. Stand up! STAND UP! Stand up and declare victory to the world, showing them that our sins are forgiven and we are made new in Jesus Christ. Show the world that we are resurrected! He is risen! Alleluia!

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