As we approach Easter Sunday and the beginning of the Easter Season let us take time to reflect on the extraordinary and undeserved gift we have received through Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection — our sins have been forgiven and we are now sharers of eternal life with Christ. The second reading from the Easter Sunday Mass says that we too have been raised to life with Christ (Colossians 3:1).
Even though we celebrate Easter once a year, it is not intended to be a once a year event in our lives. We should continually reflect on Jesus’ resurrection, and experience more deeply our own risen life in Christ on an ongoing basis. Just think, because of what Jesus Christ accomplished through his passion, death, and resurrection, our Heavenly Father has “delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
He Has Risen, Alleluia! The first part of the title for this article: “He Has Risen” comes from Matthew 28:6, when the angel said to the women at the empty tomb the following words:
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. (Matthew 28:6)
The centrality of the resurrection of Christ forms the whole basis of our faith. Listen to how St. Paul states this in Romans 10:9:
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
And St. Paul goes even further in stressing the importance of this truth in 1 Corinthians 15:14
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (1 Corinthians 15:14)
We Have Risen With Him, Alleluia! The second part of the title: “We Have Risen With Him” comes from Colossians 2:12 and 3:1-4.
You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:12
You have been raised to life with Christ, Set your heart then on things that are in heaven, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Let your thoughts dwell on things there, not on things here on earth. For you have died, and your life lies hidden with Christ in God. Your real life is Christ, and when he appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
This important truth is also expressed in other Scriptures as well:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
If we really believe in our hearts what we profess with our lips, then not only has Christ died and been raised to life for us, but we too have been crucified with him. In Christ, we have died and have been buried, and on the third day we too have been raised to life again in him. How do we know this? Isn’t this what these Scriptures tell us?
Obstacles to Living out the Truths of Our Faith: Because we are fallen human beings, living out these truths is still a work in progress. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says it this way:
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The Lord desires to transform each one of us into his image and likeness, so we can live out the new life he won for us. Unfortunately, we are sinners and so we all have obstacles that can get in the way of doing this, including:
- Past hurts, wounds, memories, disappointments
- Our fallen nature, e.g.,
- Impatience, anger, intolerance
- Wanting to be in control
- Judgmentalism, negativity, critical spirit
- Self-reliance, independence, isolation
- Self-centeredness, self-love, selfishness
- Balancing family, work, and service to the Lord
- Health issues
- Etc., Etc., Etc.
Promises of God: Yet in spite of these obstacles, we have these wonderful promises of God.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5,6)
Overcoming Obstacles: What are some ways to overcome these obstacles?
- Believe in and surrender to God’s love for you.
- Rely on the truths of who you are in Christ, not the lies of the evil one or your flesh.
- Remember the promises of God as you come before the Lord in prayer each day and during the day
- Believe that God can and desires to heal you
- Believe in the power of prayer.
- Frequent partaking of the graces that flow from the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation
No matter where we are right now in our walk with the Lord. No matter what issues we have in our life:
- Christ’s victory over sin and death is our victory.
- Christ’s risen life is always available to us
- Jesus is true to his name. Jesus is “Immanuel”: God with us.
- Jesus will never leave us or forsake us.
Let’s ask the Lord for the grace to live out these Easter truths everyday of our lives. He Has Risen, Alleluia! We Have Risen With Him, Alleluia!
Dear Lord, during this grace-filled Easter season, I ask you to continue to deepen the experience of your risen life in me, so I can bear witness to it to others.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures in the article. What do you believe the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you through these Scriptures?
- Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ so central to our faith?
- How frequently do you reflect on the fact that Jesus Christ is risen and you are risen with him? What steps can you take to do it more often?
- We all have obstacles that keep us from living the risen life, the new life in Christ. How would you describe the obstacles you have?
- The article lists several ways to help us overcome these obstacles. Which of these are you using in your life right now?
- What additional steps can you take to overcome any obstacles in your life?
- Take some time now to pray that you would experience more deeply the transforming power of the risen life of Christ during this Easter Season. Use the prayer at the end of the article as a starting point.