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Jesus Christ is risen!
Easter is the greatest and oldest Christian feast. It is the Feast of Feasts, and it is the holiest day of the year for Christians. Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This act is the core of Christian beliefs. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (647), "it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history."
For the Apostles, the Resurrection of Jesus marked a change. It was the end of the old covenant that God made with Israel, a covenant established with the blood of animals. It marked the beginning of the New Covenant, the covenant consecrated with the blood of Jesus Christ, the true unblemished lamb (1 Peter 1:18-21). It also marks the end of old age and beginning of the new age, the age of the Church (Catech. Cath. Church 1076).
The Resurrection was an incredible event; even the apostles did not believe what was happening. Consider this: According to the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 28:17), "When they (11 disciples) saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted." Also, in Mark (Mk 16:11), "When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her (Mary Magdalene), they did not believe." Luke (Lk 24:10-11) relates: "The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them."
Jesus had been telling the apostles for some time that he would be crucified, and would rise from the dead. Still, the apostles, those men closest to Jesus, did not understand and did not believe.
Jesus's resurrection is not the same as raising Lazarus from the dead, which can be thought of as re-animation. With Lazarus, he came back in his earthly body, to continue his life. Jesus rose from the dead as God, in his glorified body. When we are resurrected on the last day, we too will be in our glorified bodies.
In the opinion of this writer, Matt Maher's song "Resurrection Day" is one of the best descriptions of the power and joy of Easter. It is an uplifting, joyous song celebrating Jesus's victory over sin and death, and our freedom from sin. It celebrates the opening of the gates of heaven for all of us. It celebrates, screams even, that Jesus Christ is God. Matt captures this latter reality with the lines: "you declare what is holy, you declare what is good, in the sight of all the nations, you declare that you are God."
Declare? Again I say Jesus is pretty much shouting it from the mountain tops.
Resurrection Day. Listen. Enjoy.
This an update and reposting of a previous post.
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