SUNDAY’S READINGS | April 17, 2022
In the Nicene Creed, we say, “For our sake, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again.” The third day is revisited in your hearing. We stand in the moment and miracle of Christ’s glorious Resurrection from the dead, and we live and breathe its magnificent power. Drawing from Scripture and the liturgy, we are bold to say Christ has delivered us from the power of the enemy; he has overcome death. In his Resurrection, he offers healing and life to those who are oppressed.
Darkness has been vanquished by this new day, Christ the Morning Star that knows no setting. He has paid for us the debt of Adam’s sin and by his blood created a new and faithful people. Today we are delivered from the gloom of sin and restored to grace and holiness of life. The bonds of death and hell are shattered. Wickedness is put to flight, innocence restored, freedom found, and joy given in full measure.
Christ is alive, and he is our one true and final joy.
There will be an endmost coming. Speaking of the last day, St. Paul says, “Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:24-26). In the end, Christ will be all in all. In this middle period in which we live, not by sight but by faith, the risen Lord has given us the first fruits of the Resurrection, a foretaste, a real awareness and conviction that we advance in the power of the Resurrection. Indeed, we have sacramentally died and risen in union with him so that the only life we can most deeply claim is the life of Christ in us. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
The prophet Isaiah gives a series of images that fill out a vision of this new life. “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; … I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. … No more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; … They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. … They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord” (Isa. 65:17-23). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the inauguration of this new world of joy and life, security and length of days, hope that casts out fear, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, the protest of laughter, and the determination to go on toward the upward call of God in Christ. The Resurrection is life itself.
We do well, says poet Wendell Berry, “to practice resurrection.” In a sense, Jesus is practicing it for us. He seems to be a gardener when he addresses Mary Magdalene by name. With his voice, he breaks open her heart to plant the seed of his new life. “Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17).
Joy has come this morning!
Look It Up: Psalm 118:17
Think About It: Repeat this verse.