Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Faith Seeking Understanding for Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006

Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia! He is risen as He said, Alleluia! We rejoice today with all of creation at the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has destroyed the chains of sin and death; He has conquered the powers of darkness; He has defeated the devil. Jesus Christ is risen; He is truly risen, Alleluia!

The fast of Lent is now over and the discipline we have practiced for forty days is at and end. By the power of Christ’s sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, however, we are ever more committed to living by the grace He won for us. Having been washed anew in the Blood of the Lamb – and rejoicing with those who have been cleansed from sin and reborn from the baptismal font at the Vigil – we are confident in this new life, living in the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the core of the Faith, which is why this great feast is celebrated with an Octave (eight days of rejoicing in the Liturgy). Stopping to ponder this amazing reality, even for a moment, certainly boggles the mind. Nothing in our normal human experience has prepared us for this: a man, tortured and brutally executed on a cross, and buried in a cave for three days, on his own power has risen from the dead. Christ’s resurrection is utterly unique, as is His role in salvation. As St. Peter beautifully preaches in Acts 4:12, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

Everything that Christ teaches is ratified by His Resurrection. So how can we trust His commandments? By hoping in the power He demonstrated by rising from the dead. How can we trust the truth of the Resurrection? By faith, but also by the witness of the Apostles unto death. Every one of the Apostles was martyred (Greek for “witness”) for the truth of the Resurrection. Such dramatic and selfless testimony confronts us with the truth of Christ’s message. We are bound by this truth to accept all of Christ’s teaching, from the powerful commandment to love God and our neighbor (Mk 12:30), to the beatitudes (Mt 5:3-10), to the foundation of His Church (Mt 16:18-19), to the Real Presence of the Eucharist (Jn 6:32-63), to our responsibility to evangelize (Mt 28:19-20), and so much more.

Joy should fill our hearts as we hear the magnificent Easter Sequence: Victimæ Paschali Laudes. Another hymn, formerly sung during the procession before Mass likewise excites the boundless love that responds to Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection; it is the Salve, Festa Dies, written by St. Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers. A few verses express the beauty and sentiments of Easter Sunday perfectly:

Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day!
Whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.

Lo! Our earth is her spring; bearing thus her witness that,
with her Lord, she has all her gifts restored.

Throw off thy shrouds, I pray thee!
Leave thy winding-sheet in the tomb.
Thou art our all;
and all else, without thee, is nothing.

The white garments symbolize unspotted souls;
And the Shepherd rejoices in his snow-like flock:
Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day!
Whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.

May you have a blessed and holy Octave of Easter, celebrating each day of this week as a new promise of the hope of eternal life!