Fr. Ted Trinko, IVE
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” This is the most glorious and joyous day of the entire year because Christ has conquered death and the grave.
It is the triumph of resurrection over crucifixion, Life over death, Light over darkness, Love over hatred, of Faith over fear. This is the greatest miracle and the most important mystery of Christ’s life
The Catechism describes the Resurrection with very categorical terms (cf. CCC 638) It is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a central truth, fundamental to our faith, an essential part of it.
Without the Resurrection, Paul says our faith and preaching would be useless (I Cor 15:14-17). As Pope Benedict XVI put it: “The Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead. Without the Resurrection “the Christian faith itself would be dead.” So the primary task of the Apostles, those who first spread the Gospel, was to be witnesses to the Resurrection. They announced that Christ is alive. This was the nucleus of their teaching and that was why, when picking someone to replace Judas, Peter said that this new apostle would “become with us a witness to [Christ’s] resurrection.” (Acts 2:22). Twenty centuries later this is what we still announce, Christ is alive
It is a night of change and transformation; because of today, everything changes.
What is it about the resurrection that makes it so fundamental, essential, and central for us?
But perhaps the most practical and immediate reason why the resurrection is so essential to our faith is because the transforming effects it has on us believers. In the Easter Exultet, that is sung at the beginning of the liturgy, it is described just how radically different everything is now because of the Resurrection of Christ. We heard the word “night” used 12 times, and each of those times, it speaks of how this night changes the world. For instance:
Sacramentally, through baptism we shared in Christ’s death and resurrection...but it takes an effort to live in accord with that sacramental reality.
It is a night of change and transformation; because of today, everything changes. The resurrection is not just a symbol of hope, it is the beginning of a new creation. God the Father, who declared, “Behold, I make all things new”(Rev 21:5), has indeed done so. Christ, who died once for our sins, has made all things new by His resurrection from the dead As St. Gregory of Nyssa put it, “The kingdom of life has begun, and the empire of death has been undone.” The fallen world that was enslaved to Satan and sin is now redeemed and set free
The transforming power of the resurrection is visible in the Gospel. This is especially the case in the apostles who underwent a dramatic metamorphosis, Before the resurrection they had all abandoned our Lord, one had betrayed Him, and another had denied Him. After the resurrection……these same men couldn’t be stopped from speaking about Him. Even when the Sanhedrin had them scourged, the apostles said they couldn’t stop proclaiming what they had seen and heard. They had this courage because they knew that, even if they were crucified like Jesus, they would also rise like Him. They were no longer afraid of death and suffering. The resurrection of Jesus should fill us with similar courage.
We who are baptized and members of Christ experience that transformation as well, Sacramentally, through baptism we shared in Christ’s death and resurrection. As a result, we have been freed from sin and given newness of life. We have been made a new creation. That day of our baptism was the day that changed everything.
Sacramentally it is a fact, but it takes an effort to live in accord with that sacramental reality.
We need to behave like the redeemed persons that we are. This means we have to increase our faith in and live as if we were going to rise. This means living with great joy Even when life gets difficult and burdensome and the cross is present. These difficulties are going to lead us to glory and victory; death does not have the last word. We can remember that this will all end, and God is waiting for us; we are going to rise with Him.
Also, we should have our hearts set on the things of heaven. The things here below are good and it’s a blessing to be able to enjoy them. But as risen people, we know that they are only appetizers for the blessings of heaven. So let us not fixate or obsess over them. Rather, as a risen people, we need to focus on the things that really matter. We need to prioritize prayer and worship, charity, and growing in faith through reading Sacred Scripture and taking advantage of the great spiritual resources now available.
Just as today changes the world, changes history, and changes everything, let all of us ask for the grace for it to change us too, that we might no longer be slaves to sin, gloom, and sadness, but rather live in the joy of Resurrection, freed from sin, and confident in God’s love for us.
Let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Risen Christ, for the grace to live with our sight set on heaven, on the reward that is to come after the challenges and difficulties of this life and in the joy that is ours if only we let this night illumine our any darkness in this life.
 Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, Part Two, Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011), 241-243.
 Oratio 1 in Christi resurrectionem.