CHRIST IS THE AUTHOR OF RESURRECTION AND LIFE
A reading from a paschal homily of an ancient author
Paul rejoices that we are restored to spiritual health and cries out: ‘As through Adam death came into this world, so through Christ salvation was restored to the world’, and again: ‘The first man was from the earth, earthly, the second man is from heaven, heavenly.’
And he adds: ‘As we have borne the image of the man of the earth’, that is, of the old sinful nature, ‘so let us bear the image of the man of heaven’, that is, let us hold fast in Christ to the nature that is saved, accepted, redeemed, restored and purified. For Paul says: ‘First there is Christ’, that is, the author of resurrection and life; ‘then those who are Christ’s’, that is, those who live in imitation of His purity, those who live in unshakeable hope because of His resurrection, those who are to possess with Him the glory promised to us in heaven. As the Lord Himself ways in the Gospel: ‘He who has followed Me will not perish, but will pass from death to life.’
Thus the passion of the Saviour is salvation for mankind. This was why He willed to die for us, that we should believe in Him, and live for ever. He willed to become for a time what we are, so that we should receive the promise of His eternity and live with Him for ever.
This is the feast of the year for which we long, the beginnings of life-giving realities. Here is given us the grace of the heavenly mysteries, the gift of the Pasch.
In this feast infants come to birth in the bath of life of holy Church; they are reborn with the simplicity of babes and cry out with the voice of an innocent conscience. Here chaste fathers and pure mothers present by faith a new family beyond numbering.
In this feast the baptismal font, the womb which begets pure life, is ablaze with the light of candles under the cross, the tree of faith. Here men are sanctified by the gift of heavenly grace and fed by the spiritual sacraments, the sacred mystery.
Here the Church, gathered in brotherhood and unity, is nourished. Adoring the substance of the one godhead and the powerful name of the three persons, they join with the prophet in singing the psalm of the annual feast: ‘This is the day which the Lord made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it.’
What is this day? It is He who is the source of life, the beginning of brightness, the author of life – our Lord Jesus Christ, who said of Himself: ‘I am the day: he who walks by daylight does not stumble.’ That is to say, if a man follows Christ in all things, he will cross over in Christ’s steps to the very throne of eternal light. While Christ was still in this bodily life, He prayed to the Father for us in these words: ‘Father, I desire that those who have believed in Me may be with Me where I am, that even as You are in Me, and I in You, so they too may remain in Us.’
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, by the power of Your Holy Spirit make me truly believe Your word, that ‘He who has followed Me will not perish, but will pass from death to life.’ Amen.
Taken from THE DIVINE OFFICE II – LENT AND EASTERTIDE – The Office of Reading – The Second Reading, pages 392-393.
A Christian Pilgrim