The Resurrection and Our Faith
Easter Sunday [A]
April 9, 2023
Easter Sunday is the summit of the Holy Week. Jesus’ triumph over death is the culmination of the drama of salvation. The resurrection is the foundation of our faith. Why then is Jesus’ resurrection foundational to our belief and our religion?
St. Paul gives us the answer, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins (1 Cor 15:17).” Had not Jesus risen from the dead, all what He had said, would have been a terrible lie. His claim to divinity would have been nothing but a blasphemy. His promise to save us from the slavery of sins would have been an empty words. His prophecy that he would rise on the third day would have been an delusion. He could have been nothing but an unfortunate man who suffered on the cross.
However, Jesus rose from the dead! All what He said is true and fulfilled. He is truly a divine Messiah who redeemed His people from the bondage of sins. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s prophecies. All His teachings and commandments have a divine origin and are binding universally and eternally. His Church that He founded upon the apostles is real and becomes a means to bring people to holiness.
This is why we are rejoicing. In Easter Sunday, we know with certainty that our faith is not empty. Our God is a true God. Our Church is truly divinely instituted. Our religion is surely not a false religion. We have definitely been redeemed.
This is year’s Holy Week, I am privileged to visit the city of Turin, northern Italy. This city is not only famous for its beauty but also for its precious relic, the Shroud of Turin. The Shroud is believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ Himself. What is unique about this shroud is that it preserves the negative image of Jesus’ body. It is considered miraculous because the technology of negative imaging is relatively new, and ancient people had no possible way to produce it. Thus, it is suggested that the image was created during the event of resurrection. As Jesus resurrected, His glorious body emitted extraordinary light, and as a consequence, a negative copy of Jesus’ body was produced. The Church has not made any definitive pronouncement on the Shroud of Turin, except that is an object of religious devotion. However, if the shroud is authentic, then it is the physical evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.
However, though we have been redeemed, it does not mean that we can slack off. We must remember also that His resurrection proves to us that His teachings and commandments possess divine authority and thus, they are binding us universally and eternally. If we are not living according to His words, then we will bear the consequences eternally. If He commands us to love another as He has loved us, then we have to take this seriously. If Jesus teaches us to forgive our enemies, we do not have much option, but to do our best to forgive. If Jesus reveals that marriage cannot be dissolved, then we have to do our best to prepare our marriages into a school of love and holiness, and to support them in times of trials and temptations.
Easter is a great time to rejoice because the Lord has truly risen, and the same time, the best time to convert our great joy into enthusiasm to become a better and holier disciples of Jesus.
Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP