The Lord Has Truly Risen

03-31-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp, V.F.

Today we celebrate the greatest solemnity of our Faith; the foundation on which our hope and faith as Christian stands. We celebrate and rejoice that Our Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. By rising from the dead, He has defeated the power of death, Satan, evil forces, falsehood, and injustice and took the Glory. God made Him to rise from the dead to prove that He has power over life and death. As Paul would say, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and our faith is in vain.” 1 Cor 15:14-15. But because Christ has been raised, we have hope, and our faith is credible and that is what we celebrate. That is the reason we shout Alleluia! Alleluia! Indeed, the Lord has truly risen.

The liturgies we have been celebrating in the past three days are not what happened to Jesus but what is happening now among us as a people called to conversion, gathered in faith, and gifted with the spirit of holiness. We celebrate God’s taking possession of our heart at its deepest core, recreating us as a new human community rich in compassion, steadfast in hope that Jesus is alive and present among us. We are celebrating the fact that Jesus is alive and present among us.

Today’s Gospel story from John tells us that “on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark.” She came to the tomb to anoint the dead body of Jesus as was the tradition. By coming to the tomb, it shows that she never believed that Jesus would rise from the dead on the third day as He has said. The apostles themselves never believed in what Jesus had said, and that is why when they were told by Mary Magdala, they had taken the body of Jesus away they came to verify the truth of the story not to come and witness the resurrection. Archbishop Fulton Sheen reflecting on this made a very inspiring statement, “The Most astounding fact about this spectacle of vigilance over the dead was that the enemies of Christ expected the Resurrection, but His friends did not. It was the believers who were the skeptics; it was the unbelievers who were credulous. His followers needed and demanded proof before they would be convinced. In the three great scenes of the Resurrection drama, there was a note of sadness and unbelief. The first scene was that of weeping Magdalen who came to the grave early in the morning with spices not to greet the Risen savior, but to anoint His dead Body.” That is to say that resurrection was not in their thoughts. Therefore, if we truly believe that Christ has truly Risen, how can we make the Resurrection of Christ present in our lives every day and especially when we gather for our Sunday celebration.

There are THREE ways through which we can make present the resurrection of Christ in our lives. Through the life of Witness. We need to live the life of witness by giving testimonies of our faith and to show that Jesus has truly risen, and He is alive. A life of witness is the greatest testimony of faith in the resurrection of Christ. Hope. Our hope assures us that God is on our side, and we look to the future with hope. If Christ did not rise from the dead our faith would mean nothing and our proclamation empty. The life of hope means that we should never give in to despair because Christ is alive and in our midst. No matter how ugly a situation may seem before us let us never give up our hope in God or in ourselves. Submission. To Submit is to realize that Jesus is alive and present among us. Thus, we submit all our problems, our difficulties, and our worries unto Him because we believe He is alive and with us.

I wish you all a blessed Easter.

Fr. Tony Okolo C.S.Sp., V.F.