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Preface II of Easter
The Easter season is long, with many prefaces, because the conquest of death merits a prolonged celebration and consideration of the Resurrection of Christ in all its aspects.
New life in Christ
The new life that Christ won for us doesn’t rest in some far-off future; it started the moment a sacred minister poured water on our head and baptized us in the name of the Most Holy Trinity. Our lives became Christian lives, and that made them new lives. The way we live as believers should reflect that, because that’s the life that awaits us from here to eternity, if we persevere in faith, hope, and charity.
“Through him the children of light rise to eternal life and the halls of the heavenly Kingdom are thrown open to the faithful; for his Death is our ransom from death, and in his rising the life of all has risen.”
It’s healthy to consider the resurrection and eternal life occasionally. Everyone, good or evil, will be raised bodily from the dead on the Last Day for the Last Judgement. Do I imagine what that’ll be like for me? We’ll already know our “verdict” at that point because we’ll already have been judged individually at the moment of our death, long before our bodies are raised: eternal joy for those who had persevered in the grace and mercy of God, or eternal regret for those who hadn’t. However, the mysterious separation between body and soul brought about by sin and death will be undone, and we’ll not just live our eternity spiritually, but bodily as well.
One the Last Day we’ll find ourselves alongside saints and sinners from every moment of human history, the saints filing into the “halls of the heavenly Kingdom,” and, God willing, we’ll be filing into those halls with them. Every believer who perseveres in the faith is a saint, not just the people canonized in St. Peter’s Square.
A cynical expression has floated around for the last few decades: “life is hard, then you die.” What a truncated understanding of life. New life in Christ helps us reframe that expression, “life has its crosses, but in Christ you then live happily ever after.” It is Our Lord that has made our “happily ever after” possible, and few people appreciate a happy ending if there was not some drama or trial preceding it.
When we contemplate the resurrection and eternal life we’re reminded that this life, with its joys and tragedies, does not have the last word. It will blossom into eternity or shrivel there, stunted and unfulfilled based on our attitudes and choices right now. Christ not only will lead us from death to life; he went on ahead of us to open the way. Let’s celebrate the new life he won for us and live it here and now.