Dear Friends in Christ,
In ancient time, on Easter Sunday morning, Christians greeted their neighbours with the salutation ‘Christ is risen’, and their neighbours answered, ‘Christ is risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon.’ Perhaps this ancient custom should be resurrected today. Christ has risen indeed! The Easter Liturgy leads us in an exultant hymn of praise. The tomb is empty! Jesus is the Risen Lord, the Victor, the Lord of Life, the Living One who conquered sin and death.
Today we put our lives in a missionary key and take the message that Christ is risen into the world, courageously bearing witness to the truth that death is not the end but merely the door through which we enter into the fullness of eternal life, with God. The resurrection of Jesus is the central and crowing truth of our faith, handed down to us first from the apostles, who witnessed it with their own eyes, and then passed on to the apostolic fathers, and through them into the living tradition of the Church today. We are a resurrection people: ‘Alleluia Christ is risen!’ is our hymn of praise. But do you really believe this? Do you really believe that Jesus rose from the dead? Has this profound mystery of our faith taken root in you? Do you cry out, as Paul cried out, ‘I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection’?
Today of all days presents us with a God-given opportunity to reflect on what we understand by the statement that ‘Jesus Christ is risen today’. The following words from Pope Benedict provide us with food for thought: ‘We could regard the resurrection as something akin to a radical evolutionary leap, in which a new dimension of life emerges, a new dimension of human existence. Indeed, matter itself is remoulded into a new type of reality. The man Jesus, complete with his body, now belongs totally to the sphere of the divine and eternal.’ In Jesus of Nazareth, God-made-man, the God-man, a new humanity was revealed, a new creation. This message turned the world of the first century upside down, and it can do so again in the twenty-first century if we will take courage and proclaim it.