The Joy of Resurrection
by: Fr. Erel Villanueva
Rejoicing and celebration are the recurring themes when it comes to our annual celebration of Easter. In Matthew 28:6 it is written that “…He [Christ] is not here [in the tomb]; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” This is why we celebrate and rejoice in Easter. As far as the Paschal celebration goes, Jesus coming to our world in Christmas brought us joy and through the sorrow of His agony and death during Lent restored to us divine joy in His resurrection on Easter day.
Rejoicing and celebration are the recurring themes when it comes to our annual celebration of Easter.
In Matthew 28:6 it is written that “…He [Christ] is not here [in the tomb]; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” This is why we celebrate and rejoice in Easter. As far as the Paschal celebration goes, Jesus coming to our world in Christmas brought us joy and through the sorrow of His agony and death during Lent restored to us divine joy in His resurrection on Easter day.
However, for us to truly celebrate this joy as well as to proclaim it to others, the reality of what truly transpired in the events leading to Christ’s resurrection as well as the very essence of every action of it must seep through our very being. And we see this during Holy Week as the days go by leading to our Easter celebration. After the solemn services during the Holy Week, the celebration of Easter starts with the Saturday vigil service where the accounts of God’s mighty hand moving to save the Israelites are read to the congregation and is then highlighted and culminated with the Easter sunrise service. Our liturgical and sacramental ceremonies help us understand why the motions we go through in the services are not mere empty gestures or ritualistic actions but rather putting into perspective the depth and magnitude of why we are celebrating Easter. By actively participating in the motions of the service, we are allowing God to affect our lives one gesture at a time and that is our reality—Christ’s resurrection has to affect our lives.
The first reality we have to accept is that we need to believe that Jesus is alive and with us no matter what our circumstances are. He has risen and He is alive just as He has promised therefore our faith and hope is alive in Him. He is with us and in us always and forever therefore we can face every trial because there is a solution for every single one of them. And since He is with us then there’s not one problem in this world that He cannot solve. With Christ living in and through us, nothing is impossible.
The second reality we have to accept is that death has been conquered and is a defeated foe. We don’t have to fear the sting of death for it has no hold on us. Before the demise of our Lord on the cross, man’s death would’ve subjected him to eternal damnation. But since Christ has overthrown death by His own death and resurrection, man’s death no longer meant eternal damnation but rather eternal life.
The third reality of Christ’s resurrection is that the power of sin was destroyed and that we are no longer slaves to it. In His death and resurrection we had been freed, forgiven and reconciled back to God. His resurrection power gave us the strength to overcome sin, the ability to change, the courage to repent and the grace to forgive and live in a newness of life.
Jesus is alive and He is with us. Death and sin has been destroyed and these are all reasons to rejoice, not only for us but for others. Our rejoicing is an expression of our faith. May our life be a living testimony of Christ’s resurrection so that the story of the risen Lord will never fade away as time goes by but will resoundingly echo and remembered with faith-filled joy from one generation to another.
Christ is risen! The Lord has risen indeed. Halleluiah!!