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Friday, March 25, 2016

The Mysterious Working of the Risen Christ

The Mysterious Working of the Risen Christ

This is the time of year that Christians around the world come together to celebrate Easter.  When we celebrate Easter we celebrate our salvation and our new life in Christ!  We celebrate being set free and being saved from sin!  None of the other world religions have any celebrations coming close to this or any belief that begins to compare with our Easter.   

The Easter story is such a thrilling story that it stands alone.  Jesus had been crucified and his body had hurriedly been laid in a garden tomb. He died a few hours before the Sabbath and since the Jewish religious laws required that no one work on the Sabbath, Jesus’ body had to be buried quickly during the few hours left before sundown.  Sundown marked the beginning of the Sabbath.

Some of the women who had been followers of Jesus planned to go to His tomb when the Sabbath was over and anoint His body with burial spices.  So very early that following Sunday morning these women walked together to the tomb weeping as they went and expecting to find Jesus’ dead and broken body in the tomb.

The big surprise in the story comes when the women get to the tomb and find an empty tomb and the stone rolled away from the door along with bright angels standing nearby. The confused women were wondering if someone had stolen Jesus’ body, but then the angels stepped forward and asked the women: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here: but He has risen.” (Luke 24:5-6)

From that moment on nothing remains as it was before, not in the women’s lives or in our lives or in the history of humankind.  Jesus is not dead!  He is alive!  He has risen!  He has conquered sin and death because He is Life itself!  Because He lives, we shall live also!  (John 14:19-20)    Easter is the time when we celebrate our risen Lord and the fact that His Spirit is alive in us. 

And often we make the same mistake that the women at his tomb made.  We talk about Jesus as if He lived long ago. And we forget that He lives today in the present while leading us on to the future. And He wants to live in your heart and bring you into His kingdom.  He is the Son of God and He will forgive you of your sin and make you whole. He is alive today and He wants you to follow Him. Let the risen Jesus enter your life – welcome Him as your Savior.  Trust Him and open your life to Him.  He will receive you with open arms.  Take a risk, you won’t be disappointed.  He is calling you.  Don’t be afraid.  Trust Him and He will give you peace and joy and strength to live the good life.

Jesus calls us to go into the world and feed the hungry and take care of the sick and bring others to Him.  He calls us to be His hands and feet.  A committed missionary knows the joy of being a spring of living water which spills over and refreshes others. And Jesus promises to be that spring in us.  As we go out to do His work the mysterious working of the risen Christ and his Spirit will go with us.  But if we refuse His call and refuse to share and stop giving and lock ourselves up in our own comforts.  Such a life is nothing less than slow suicide.

Some people do not commit themselves to missions because they think that nothing will change and that it is useless to make the effort.  This attitude makes it impossible to be a missionary.  It is a self-destructive attitude, for “man cannot live without hope: life would become meaningless and unbearable.”  Our faith is all important.

If we think that things are not going to change, we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death and is now almighty.  And we have the victory through Him. He never fails. Jesus Christ truly lives.   Put another way, “If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then our preaching is in vain.”  (1 Corinthians 15:14) The Gospel tells us that when the first disciples went forth to preach, “the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message.”  (Mark 16:20) The same thing will happen for you today.  We are invited to discover this, to experience it.  Christ, risen and glorified, is the wellspring of our hope, and He will not deprive us of the help we need to carry out the mission which He has entrusted to us.

Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past:  It contains a vital power which has permeated this world.  Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up.  It is an irresistible force.  Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power. 

This blog consists of sermons delivered by Pope Francis and written down in “The Joy of the Gospel”  by Pope Francis.

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