Emmitsburg Council of Churches

The Lord Jesus Christ is Risen
 from the Dead-Alleluia!

Father John J. Lombardi

The gift of Christ (His Resurrection) is greater than the sin of Adam." St. Thomas Aquinas

As we celebrate this Easter, in order to penetrate and appreciate the Mystery more, let us ask: What does the Resurrection of Jesus Christ teach us? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs # 640 ff) clues us in (below in italics)…Did you know, or ever think about…

EMPTINESS and FULLNESS--"The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb."

Upon seeing the "emptiness" would you have despaired, believed or doubted? "Why do you seek the living among the dead-He is not here but risen." (+Lk 24:5-6)…Let's thank the disciples for believing, trusting and passing on the Faith and testimony to us! Remember: amidst any of today's seeming empty tombs" (Church scandals, personal difficulties, family troubles) recall that Jesus is Risen and, even though perhaps not physically present, He is, hopefully, living and reigning in our hearts!

WOMEN and MEN--"Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection for the apostles themselves. Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles-and Peter in particular."

Notice-surprisingly?-that it was women who saw the Risen Jesus first and spread the Radiant News about Him. Also, St. Peter is the first Apostle to see Him: this is no mistake-his name is mentioned in the Bible more than double all the other Apostles' names combined. Why?-because Christ chose (and planned) Him as His leader and "representation" on earth-and the early Christian Church recognized him as such…Be grateful for how God has given you Faith through your mother, other women-and all the women who are so valiantly dedicated to the Church and Christ-often without recognition…Think of how Jesus planned to set up His Church, amidst the Resurrection itself, with human structures to carry on His Mission after He left the world. These human leaders-priests and bishops--are fallible and sinful, as we can see in St. Peter and today's Church leaders: however, like St. Peter's denial of Jesus to his conversion and martyrdom, this should not make us change Jesus' plans, but impel us to strive for greater holiness and faithfulness!

CRUCIFIED and GLORIFIEED--"…the risen body in which He appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of His passion…Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possess the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time…for Christ's humanity can no longer be confined to earth and belongs henceforth only to the Father's divine realm."

Christ wants us still to contemplate His suffering and death even amidst the Easter joy. Perhaps we can sometimes be overly optimistic and forgetful of what--and how much--He really did for all of us. And yet His Body is Glorious-luminous and alluring, symbolizing what we, hopefully, will be like in our own resurrection. Christ's resurrected and "heavenly journey" points the way to our final home-"the Father's realm."

+MYSTERY--The Father's power raised up Christ His Son and by doing so perfectly introduced His Son's humanity, including His body, into the Trinity." …Even though God is pure spirit, now, with the Resurrection and Ascension of the Son, bodily life is "introduced" into the Holy Trinity: this implies that the realm of Heaven and bliss are not only, or reducible to, a mental and "spiritualized" life without traces of our human "roots". No: it is not only when our souls "reach God and Heaven" that our supernatural life is complete, but it is when our bodies and souls are reunited-at the Second Coming of Jesus-in the Most holy Trinity when we totally arrive at the fullness of eternal life--see below…

" 'By the unity of the divine nature, which remains present in each of the two components of man, these are reunited. For as death is produced by the separation of the human components, so resurrection is achieved by union of the two." +St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Until the Resurrection, and Heaven and the Last Judgment, we humans are in constant flux, tension and instability-our bodies and souls, riveted by sin are in dis-union. Harmony-spiritually, physically-is only complete in Christ Jesus, when He totally and irrevocably "repairs' and restores" us to true life.

As we can see through the Catechism, the Resurrection teaches us many great lessons-they are all important…The Church gives us FIFTY DAYS-until Pentecost-to ponder and enjoy the triumph of God over sin and death. Do not be like the world and forget or water down the holiest of mysteries-the Resurrection of Jesus Christ-but through ongoing conversion, frequent Holy Communion, Reconciliation (see below re. Divine Mercy), and rejoicing in His Spring, let us be grateful for all God's graces.

As we gratefully ponder and enjoy the fruits of the Lord's Resurrection let us always remember to receive Him-Crucified and Risen-where it counts most--"Out of the tomb and into my heart."

Read other Sermons by Father John J. Lombardi