“If Jesus has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14). The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the key to the hope promised by God. God is a God of promises. God promised Abraham a great nation, He promised Moses a land flowing with milk and honey. Through the prophets He promised justice and mercy. Jesus promised a Kingdom of life everlasting, of peace, of eternal glory. However, in order to arrive at the resurrection, Jesus had to endure his passion and death. This is the Paschal mystery – Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection which liberates us from sin and opens for us eternal life.
What does this mean for us? Because Jesus became human while also remaining divine, he had the power in his own person to lift up humanity from the darkness of sin into the light of life. Saint Augustine famously wrote, “God created us without us; but he did not will to save us without us.” Thus, while the Paschal mystery opens for us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life, in order to benefit from it, we must “walk by faith” and follow Christ. And if we follow him, he says, “take up your cross.”
We each carry our crosses in life. Daily crosses, heavy crosses. Many carry the burden of illness, of caring for a loved one, of being overworked in order to provide for the family, and so many other crosses, small and large. Yet, we do not carry it alone. Jesus promised that he will be with us until the end of the world. Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint Clare, the angels and saints assist us, as well. The Christian community assists in loving action and prayer.
This Easter, let us walk by faith, follow Jesus, and enjoy the wonder of His promise fulfilled, the resurrection!
Bishop Patrick J. McGrath and Coadjutor Bishop Oscar Cantú