Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

8 April 2012: Easter Sunday

He Is Risen!

    "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain.  We are even found to be misrepresenting
God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ (1 Cor 15: 14-15). 
With these words Saint Paul explains quite drastically what faith in
the Resurrection of Jesus Christ means for the Christian message
overall:  it is its very foundation.  The Christian faith stands or falls
with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead.

    If this were taken away, it would still be possible to piece
together from the Christian tradition a series of interesting ideas
about God and men, about man's being and his obligations, a kind
of religious world view:  but the Christian faith itself would be dead.
Jesus would be a failed religious leader, who despite his failure
remains great and can cause us to reflect.  But he would then remain
purely human, and his authority would extend only so far as his
message is of interest to us.  He would no longer be a criterion; the
only criterion left would be our own judgment in selecting from his
heritage what strikes us as helpful.  In other words, we would be alone.
Our own judgment would be the highest instance.

    Only if Jesus is risen has anything really new occurred that
changes the world and the situation of mankind.  Then he becomes
the criterion on which we can rely.  For then God has truly revealed

    ... If we attend to the witnesses with listening hearts and open
ourselves to the signs by which the Lord again and again authenticates
both them and himself, then we know that he is truly risen.  He is alive.
Let us entrust ourselves to him, knowing that we are on the right path.
With Thomas let us place our hands into Jesus' pierced side and
confess:  "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28).

                    -- Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
                        Jesus of Nazareth, Holy Week
                            Chapter nine

        The Lord has indeed risen, alleluia.
        Glory and kingship be his for ever and ever.

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