“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, he is risen” (Lk. 24, 5). These angelic words dumbfounded the bewildered women who went to Jesus’ tomb on that first Easter morning. His body was no longer there! With awe and joy, the Church of God in Vancouver proclaims to the world: “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” (Lk. 24, 34).
At Easter we rejoice because Christ did not remain in the tomb. His body did not experience corruption. Life triumphed over the power of death. Through the power of the Resurrection, our Redeemer is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. The Risen Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever eternity (cf. Heb. 13,8).
Borrowing from the language of the theory of evolution, Pope Benedict has observed that Christ’s Resurrection is the greatest “mutation,” the most crucial leap into a totally new dimension that there has ever taken place in the long history of the development of life. On that first Easter morning Christ leaped into a totally new life, bursting the bonds of death which could not hold him prisoner.
The new age has begun. Starting from Christ, our world – fallen and fragile though it is – is already being transformed into the new creation. The arrogance of evil has been vanquished by the power of love.
The Resurrection is a cosmic event, which links heaven and earth together. Jesus is not a man from the past. He is the Living One, who still walks before us and calls us to follow him.
The Risen Lord reaches out across time and space to reach us. He comes to us through Baptism. Baptism means precisely this, that we are not dealing with an event of the past, but with a qualitative leap in world history that encompasses us. It seizes hold of us and draws me into the promise of eternal life. This is what it means for us to be baptized into Christ.
Easter, then, is a feast of exuberance, of exaltation and of enormous joy. In the Archdiocese of Vancouver, together with the whole Church throughout the world, we rejoice that the darkness of our night has been transformed into the brightness of a new day. The Risen Christ, and he alone, is the hope of a better world. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in it and be glad” (Ps 116, 24).
+ J. Michael Miller, csb
Archbishop of Vancouver