Emmitsburg Council of Churches

The Resurrection of Our Lord

Father John J. Lombardi

Just what is the Easter Experience?

It is the un-veiling of darkness-death and the prevailing of Bliss and Life. I.e.,: Christ Left Behind burial cloths of demise and shines-forth in Divine Gloss. Christ died for us and rose from the Dead. And, oh yeah, don't forget, Easter is: Christ Out of the Tomb and into our Hearts. Now: let sin go and the Resurrection flow.

I once heard a radio evangelist say that the following lines are some of the most important part of the Bible--Period! St Paul says: "I delivered to you as of first importance what I received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day…and that He appeared…" (I Cor 15̈3-4). The evangelist was rightly stressing that The Resurrection is, as our Holy Catholic Church proclaims, the most festive, glorious Feast, Celebration and Solemnity of the Year-topping Christmas and Pentecost and all the rest. It's the "trump-card-Event"of all time! Interested? Read on dear Pilgrim…

The Essence of Easter is, simply this: Christ Jesus triumphed over our Three Worst Enemies: Sin, Hell and Death. These are all obstacles for us and Jesus Christ shows us that in no way are they ever "final" or "absolute". Sin can grip us all, yet thru Christ's Resurrection--since He died for, and because of, our sins--He shows us that we too can triumph over sin, since He was both God and man. So, now, put the spiritual "carrot" of Triumph over sin in front of you (not fatalism or failure) and subvert sin with Christ Resurrected in your heart. Hell is Eternal separation from God: Jesus shows us that we will never be eternally separated from God if we "cling to the King"--since He Himself conquered it's power-- Satan's Dark Kingdom never has final sway over us. Death will come to us all-thru sickness, old age or some accident. Yet: In embracing and undergoing death and then overcoming it Jesus shows us that it has no absolute power over us humans. Regarding these Three Enemies: It's kinda' like Jesus becomes a "Cosmic Mystical Magnet:" attracts these Enemies to Himself-embraces their paralyzing power to both His Divinity and Humanity on the Cross and by His Most Precious Blood de-magnetizes them and thereby de-stigmatizes their power over us. Thing is: We need the "Flow-Thru Principle". We have to be united to Christ every day, every way, else His Power and Blood will not flow within us and helps to overcome all enemies. St Paul illustrates this "Flow Thru Principle" several times: "I may gain Christ and be found in Him…to know Him and the power of His Resurrection" (Phil. 3: 9-10). And: "If there is a natural body so there is a spiritual one…Just as we have born the image of the earthly one (Adam) so we bear the image of the heavenly one"-I Cor 15:44,49). Also: "I have been crucified with Christ; I no longer live, not I, but Christ within me" (Gal. 2:20). And: "When everything is subjected to Him (the Father) then the Son will also subject to the One who subjected everything to him so that God may all in all" (I Cor 15: 29).

Okay, point: do you "know the Power of the Resurrection" in your life-actually experience it? Do you sometimes overly attach to your "natural body" or positively to your "spiritual body"? Have you crucified sin-nature so as to align with your Christ-like part? Do you allow God to be all-in-all in you? Translated:Let sin go/ let the Resurrection flow.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Resurrected Body of Jesus: "This real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body, not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when He wills" (#645). Many today may try to trick us Catholics and Christians: by saying or implying, for instance Christ really didn't rise from the dead; He only appeared as like a ghost or spirit" to the Apostles; or His Spirit rose in their hearts and this is the meaning of the Resurrection; and that some found an ossuary of His body-tomb recently in Jerusalem, and so forth "If Christ had not been raised then our preaching would be in vain and your faith is in vain" (I Cor 15:14). Christ physically, gloriously rose from the dead. Here's the Biblical evidence: a-The linen clothes of Christ left behind in the tomb (Jn 20:6-8); b-the appearance to so many various people ( Mk 16:9-13; Jn.20:19ff); c-the stone of the tomb rolled back (a "spirit" doesn't need a physical stone moved but a body moves it: Mk.16:3-4); d- "Doubting Thomas" (soon to be faithful martyr!) touched His open wounds (jn. 20:24ff) ; d-His appearance and Eucharistic Supper on the Road to Emmaus (St Lk 24:13ff). So, believe!

What are some other "Easter Experiences"?

A Miracle beyond the Grave? A French nun was suffering gravely from a form of Parkinson's disease and loosing some of her mental faculties and physical abilities. She began praying-along with many sisters in her convent-- to Pope John Paul II who himself suffered from the same disease. Then, one day, even though treated with medicines to help her were not successful, she was healed of her disease. The doctors were amazed and the Vatican has studied her situation and is possibly considering it as a "beyond the grave" healing by the intercession of Pope John Paul. It is, in a way, a mini-Resurrection experience: death does not separate us in the Mystical Communion. The Lord's Resurrection Power continues to flow and be channeled thru His saints.

New Hope School was built near Lancaster, Pa., and last week Amish schoolchildren began meeting in it. Thing is: a year ago a deranged man went in to a nearby school building and shot and killed five Amish school girls. That building was since razed. You would think the death, disaster and demolition would be a final end. No: the Amish families forgave the killer, actually took up collections of monies to support his family and children in education and are now using this new school building, called "New Hope" as a place of education and spirituality. How can you overcome tragedies and blend with Triumphant Power of the Resurrection to build anew?

I recently heard of a lady who was almost completely blind. She could barely walk without others helping her. She was raised by atheist parents. She came to the Grotto at the urging of a pilgrim-friend and washed her eyes and face in the Grotto Spring Water. Immediately she could see clearly, so much so she walked out of the Grotto by herself. The Lord's Resurrection Power continues to heal-do you use sacramentals like healing water to ask for favors and graces?

Left Behind Series Continued: Christ left behind burial cloths (Jn 20) from His Glorious Body-what do you need to leave behind that is strapping, strangulating you to embrace Glory and Exultation? At our Chrism Mass with Cardinal Keeler last week he announced that a year ago he was asking for prayers for Msgr. Art Valenzano, who was suffering from leukemia and undergoing treatments-in danger of death. Cardinal Keeler said "God answered our prayers and Msgr Art is with us". The whole cathedral roared with jubilation. as Msgr Art rose for all of us to see-- who previously lost his hair and strength, yet persevered and looked brightly anew-with hair and a gleaming smile.

Get a rise: A man visited recently some friends he hadn't seen in years and wondered what his re-visit would be like. He was a little nervous in visiting since so much time and many events had had taken place. Then, upon his arrival, one man embraced him: and many other friends came to greet and welcome him and even host a picnic lunch for him and later took him out for ice cream (even in Lent!). As they say, "he got a rise" out of his experience and felt very good even though initially nervous. He was relieved and arose from his trepidation. How do you help others in such-simple and yet-profound ways to rise from their troubles and experience Easter joy?

A Biblical Surge? Time Magazine (Apr. 4) recently published a cover story about the resurgence of the Bible in public education. Since a demise of biblical education in the 1960's there is now in more public schools biblical courses offered. Though they are usually "secular" and not evangelizing they promise a springtime of biblical promotion and return to true readings of the Constitution. Also, Stephen Prothero, chair of the secular Boston University religion dept., has published a seminal book, "Religious Literacy," and is quoted in the Time article favorably: "In the late 70's (students) knew nothing about religion…but then religion rushed back into the public square. What purpose could it possibly serve for citizens to be ignorant of al that?" 'The 'new consensus' for secular Bible study argues that knowledge of it is essential to being a full-fledged, well-rounded citizen." What are you doing to promote the Faith even when in difficult situations? Remember the Psalmist's counsel: "Your word, o Lord, is a lamp unto my feet".

The Easter Jesus? "He (Jesus) breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit'…" (Jn. 20: 22). Do you actually breathe in the Resurrected Lord Jesus' Sacred Breath (or just think about it, as in "That was then, this is now"-I have no access to this Divine Impress). No, we are called to use all our mental faculties and physical abilities to become One with the Son. So, now, be calmed, and unite your breathing with Christ as you say and pray those words: Within: loving and breathing Him. He is Risen and breathes within you. St Paul says: "If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. Behold the old has passed the new has come" (II Cor. 5:17). What are the ABC's of Easter Resurrection Union? =Always Breathing Christ.

How you can respond to Easter-by: Mass: "He who eats My Flesh and Drinks My Blood will abide in Me and I in him" (Jn. 6:56). Divine Mercy: Confession is a way to Floss your sins and Gloss your soul-make a fearless confession of all sins and be renewed. Be an instrument: Extend Christ's' Love and Mercy to others.

Happy And Blessed Easter!

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi