As we celebrate Easter, it is fitting to ask ourselves what would seem to be a common sense question, but one that is often ignored.
How does our faith in the Resurrection change our lives? Or, to put it in another way, how do we live differently than we would if we did not know that Jesus Christ did rise from the dead on that Easter Sunday almost 2000 years ago? Above all else, we know that Jesus Christ is with us here and now. If Christ had not risen from the dead, we would still hear His words, His ideas, and His example, but He would not be with us among the living.
If it were not for the Resurrection, we would be left with His corpse rotting in the grave. But because Jesus did rise, He is with us; and our faith is not a call from the distance, but rather one who is with us in mystery even now, and preparing us to be with Him in glory forever. God does not simply tell us from His throne, “Here is how you get to heaven; I hope you make it.”
He came to earth, died for us, rose again and is with us still. And so we reverence Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and should be thrilled to be with Him in the liturgy, when He guides the Church in prayer. And knowing that Jesus shares His life with ours in the sacraments and above all when we receive Communion, we should live in a way worthy of that union. For, because Jesus rose from the dead, He will bring us with Him into eternal glory. And not only us, but our good deeds, will rise with us.
We are therefore careful with what we do in this life, how we treat each other and ourselves, not because our hopes are in this world, but rather because, as the Vatican II Council declared in Gaudium et Spes, the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, “When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise . . . according to the command of the Lord and His Spirit, we will find them again, cleansed this time from the stain of sin, illuminated and transfigured, when Christ presents to His Father and eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”