Jesus Springs Forth From The Dead

Jesus Springs Forth From The Dead April 1, 2018

Christ is Risen!

Today we celebrate this truth: death reigns no more; the final enemy has been overcome by its own stratagems. The enemy has been fooled by the wisdom of God.

God came into his own; he became man and let the rest of humanity do with him as they will on the cross. The darkness of sin covered the whole of humanity. It turned them against their creator. He bore the blunt of their aggression as the nihilistic power of sin seemed to be victorious.

On the cross God died and then he was put in the grave.

But the darkness of death could not hold him down.  “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  (Jn. 1:4-5 RSV). Death and the gave could not hold down the author of life; he is alive, and he is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead! By death he trampled death and to those in the tombs he granted life!

This is the day of resurrection! This is the feast of feasts, the day of days. The resurrection unites heaven and earth, time with eternity, the beginning with the end, as it gives birth to the new creation in the world. Time gives way to eternity; the beginning finds its completion in the end, for today Christ is risen! Thus, St. Jerome could say:

‘This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.’ Just as the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Lord, holds the first place among all women, even so, this day is the mother of days among all days.[1]

The Word, the author of life, the creator of all things has healed his creation from the contamination of sin; what was corrupted, he has restored. “And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace” (Jn. 1:16 RSV). Full of life, full of glory he shares his bounty to all. Grace upon grace is bestowed upon creation, rising it up and transfiguring it with him. The ugly drabness of sin is washed away as the beauty of his life radiantly grows and emerges into the world. As St. Cyril of Alexandria preached, the time of year in which the resurrection took place in Israel manifests and gives forth a representation of the glory which Christ is willing to give to all:[2]

The season of spring, then, suits Easter the best of all others, since it draws on a tablet, as it were, the meaning of Christ’s achievements by means of the things that occur during it. For it arises while warming the earth with the pure and gentlest rays of the sun, ad all but saying to winter’s assaults:  Give leave now, give leave at last to mountains and vales to adorn themselves with thickets of trees with lovely trunks, and to the plains, stripped bare, to bloom with tender grass new-sprung. Let the meadows now show off their lilies, let the laughter of the most fragrant flowers be heard in gardens, let the bee also take off from its hives and buzz around the fields without being bothered by violent winds or its slight cut short by rain. [3]

The glory of Spring merely foreshadows the springtime of eternal life; the beauty of spring foreshadows the beauty which is to be had with those resurrected in Christ. We have in type a representation of the glory which transcends all understanding we get a glimpse of it here, but as Paul pointed out, we cannot grasp what is to come: “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’”  (1Cor. 2:9 RSV).

Winter is over; the cold ice is beginning to thaw as the power of darkness is overcome by the light of the world. Through him, with him, and in him, all things are called to be united together and shown their true inner nature as the light of life shines in them and allows them to grow from grace to grace, to be deified in the kingdom of God

Christ is risen from the dead! By death he trampled death and to those in the tombs he granted life!

In the shadows that remain behind, in earthly history, the powers of death continue to fight, but just as Winter storms might burst forth in the Spring only to find themselves overcome by the Spring, so they shall be exposed to the light and the beauty of truth will shine forth victorious. The dark powers, the foes, continue to struggle, but the war against them is already won.

Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered, and let those who hate him flee from before his face! As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish, as wax melts before a fire. So let the wicked perish at the presence of God, but let the righteous ones rejoice. This is the day the Lord had made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Let us let this day of days, this mother of all days, give birth the joy of the new life, so we can live in it for eternity.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

 

[Image=Chora Church/Museum, Istanbul,fresco,Anastasis, Harrowing of Hell and Resurrection. Photograph by Gunnar Bach Pedersen (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]


[1] St. Jerome, “Homily 93 Of Easter Sunday” in  The Homilies of Saint Jerome: Volume 2. Trans. Marie Liguori Ewald, I.H.M. (Washington, DC: CUA Press, 1965). 247.

[2] Obviously, in some parts of the world, it is not Spring but Fall; however, in the place in which the resurrection took place, it was Spring, which is why it is fitting to explore the relationship of Spring with the glory of the resurrection. God reveals himself in and through nature and its cycles.

[3] St. Cyril of Alexandria, “Festal Letter Sixteen: A.D. 428” in Festal Letters 13 – 30. Trans. Philip B. Amidon, S.J. (Washington, DC: CUA Press, 2013), 45.

 

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