Saturday Evening (April 8, 2023): Vigil Mass: Rom 6: 3-11; Mt 28:1-10; “Jesus is Lord; He is risen!”
The Resurrection of Christ is the basis of our Christian Faith, for it proves that Jesus is God. That is why St. Paul writes: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain; and your Faith is in vain… And if Christ has not been raised, then your Faith is a delusion, and you are still lost in your sins… But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Cor 15:14, 17, 20).
In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our Faith in Christ, a Faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross..." (CCC # 638).
Life Message: If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then the Church is a fraud and Faith is a sham. But if Jesus really did rise from the dead, his message is true! Without the Resurrection, Jesus would have remained forever a good person who had met a tragic end. People would remember some of his teachings, and a handful of people might try to live according to them. All the basic doctrines of Christianity are founded on the truth of the Resurrection.
“Jesus is Lord; He is risen!” (Rom 10:9) was the central theme of the kerygma (or "preaching"), of the apostles. There is a story of two women who stood before Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. One asked, "Why can't we build structures like this anymore?" Her friend answered, "The people who built this had Faith. Today we have only opinions. And you can't build a cathedral with opinions."
Conclusion: Easter is the guarantee of our own resurrection. Jesus assured Martha at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in Me will live even though he die” (Jn 11:25-26).
In fact, the founder of no other religion has an empty tomb as Jesus does. We see the fulfillment of Christ's promise on the empty cross and in the empty tomb. Hence the angel said to the women at Jesus’ tomb: “Why are you looking among the dead for One Who is alive? He is not here but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6).
Consequently, Christ will raise us up on the last day, but it is also true, in a sense, that we have already risen with Christ. By virtue of the Holy Spirit, our Christian life is already a participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ.