“Now if Christ raised from the dead is what has been preached, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ himself cannot have been raised, and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless and your believing it is useless… But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor 15:12-14,20)
Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the "feast of feasts," the "solemnity of solemnities" (CCC 1169). Jesus Christ, risen from the dead is so central to our faith as Christians. As St Paul articulates for the community in Corinth and for all of us, Christ rose from the tomb, thereby shattering the chains of death for all of us.
The splintered, coarse, heavy and dead wooden cross that Christ was terrifyingly nailed to has now been transformed into green, supple, light and alive, tree of life. In the Gospel of John this reality is made evident.
John emphasises that the cross is placed in the middle: “There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle” (Jn 19:18). This alludes to the tree of life in the garden in the Book of Genesis: “The tree of life was also in the middle of the garden (Gen 2:9). Death is transformed into new life, the life of the resurrection.
Happy Easter to you and all your families. My prayer for this Eastertide is that the extraordinary power of the resurrection will fill our hearts and minds so that we will come to grasp the width, length, height and depth of God’s love. Amen.