How can an event that took place over two thousand years ago continue to impact our lives in such profound ways? None of us were first hand witnesses to this event but yet we celebrate it with such great piety and jubilation. However, two thousand years ago, to a group of men and women it brought about a new purpose in life when they discovered that their friend and Lord was no longer in the tomb but had appeared to various people. It not only brought a new purpose but also a new zeal to tell the story of Jesus to everyone whom they encountered.
If such an event brought this renewed sense of life, then we need to ask ourselves “what does Christ’s Life, Death, and Resurrection really mean to our daily lives?” St Paul in his letter to the Galatians spoke of the impact of his encounter with the resurrected Christ: “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of those who treats Christ’s death as meaningless…” (Gal 2:20-21).
In the days leading up to Easter, our churches are overflowing with people which we don’t normally see during the rest of the year. Where do they come from? Why is it important? It always baffles me as to why this ‘influx’ happens only during this time and not the rest of the year. Perhaps they too unknowingly admit that the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith, for if Jesus did not resurrect, we would not be here professing this faith. For the disciples and friends of Jesus, the encounter with the Risen Jesus was a life transforming moment. It was Thomas who acclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28) and not just to him but also to all future generations Jesus said, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me” (Jn 20:29).
The feast of the resurrection is indeed a profession of faith. During the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday, the renewal of baptismal promises and sprinkling with holy water replaces the Creed. This is significant that each of us make this personal commitment to believe and live the faith. These are not merely words but a personal statement of what I believe in. Therefore, what I believe must also be what I live since “a conviction without action is purely superstition”. In the words of St Augustine: Let the creed be like a mirror for you. Look at yourself in it to see whether you really believe all that you claim to believe. And rejoice every day in your faith.
In order for Easter to not be purely a celebration of eggs, chocolates and bunnies, the resurrection of Jesus and the profession of faith must make a difference in our lives. As one author puts it: “Easter” (Greek: Pascha) comes from the Hebrew word which means “to pass”: “to pass” through the Red Sea, “to pass” from death to life, from sin to grace, from life without Christ to a life in Him; from hate to love, from indifference to solidarity & commitment…” The next time you say the Creed, ponder on the words and mean every word you say for that is what leads us to life.
Christ the Lord is Risen, alleluia! Let these words resound through our words and actions. Blessed Easter to all.