April 11, 2004
vol 15, no. 102
"In the likeness of His Resurrection"
Romans 6: 5|
In this world of darkness which is seemingly blind to "the Truth, the Way and the Life" the only way we can see the narrow path to Heaven is by the Light of Christ. Lumen Christi Deo gratias. Alleluia, alleluia!
"Entrance into the Paschal Mystery of Christ's death and Resurrection requires the death of the old man, who is of this world, so that the new man, reborn in Christ, may live. Hence the advice of St. Paul: 'Therefore, if you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, shall appear, then you too will appear with Him in glory' (Col.3:1-4). "
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for this most Solemn of Solemnities of Easter Sunday, he reaffirms what the Scriptures confirm and what Holy Mother Church has always taught as he provides various testimonies from Divine Revelation and true learned men of the Church to the fact we must die with Christ in our flesh, so to speak, by shedding the vices of the old man and putting on the garment of grace of the new man in order to be worthy to rise with Him in our resurrection when, purified of all sin, we can take our place in the everlasting light. The way can only be illuminated by Lumen Christi - the Light of Christ which is our beacon on the path to Heaven. Father explains in his sermon for this glorious Easter morn. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]
"Of all the seasons of the liturgical year Eastertide is by far the richest in mystery. We might even say that Easter is the summit of the Mystery of the sacred Liturgy. The Christian who is happy enough to enter, with his whole mind and heart, into the knowledge and love of the Paschal Mystery, has reached the very center of the supernatural life" (Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year).
The Paschal Mystery is entered by means of a death-the death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. Christ has struggled with death and has emerged victorious, as Isaias prophesied: "He shall cast death down headlong for ever. And this Lord God shall wipe away tears from every face. And the reproach of his people he shall take away from off the whole earth. For the Lord hath spoken it" (Is.25:8).
"After the blows and the mockery," says St. Augustine, "after the gall and the drink of vinegar, after the agony and the wounds of the cross, the new Body, returning more beautiful than before, has risen again from its grave; the latent life returning from its setting, and the salvation that was laid up for us in His death now appears" (St. Augustine, Sermon on the Resurrection).
St. Paul testifies: "But as it is, Christ has risen from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also comes resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made to live. But each in his own turn. Christ as first-fruits, then they who are Christ's, who have believed, at His coming" (1Cor.15:22,23).
How do we enter into the death and Resurrection of Jesus? It is not simply by going the way of all flesh, since death is a punishment for sin. As St. Paul says, "The wages of sin is death…" (Rom.6:22). But he explains how it is done:
"Do you not know that all we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? For we were buried with him by means of baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ has arisen from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we may also walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be so in the likeness of his resurrection also. For we know that our old self has been crucified with him, in order that the body of sin may be destroyed, that we may no longer be slaves of sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live together with Christ; for we know that Christ, having risen from the dead, dies now no more, death shall no longer have dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life that he lives, he lives unto God. Thus do you consider yourselves also as dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom.6:3-11).
We have died with Christ? In our vain attempt to serve two masters we are hard to convince, so that we remain weak and sinful-and divided. Hear the poet, William Wordsworth:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
Jesus told us our heart's desire must be in Heaven: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where rust and moth consume, and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves break in and steal. For where thy treasure is there also will be thy heart" (Mt.6:19-21).
Entrance into the Paschal Mystery of Christ's death and Resurrection requires the death of the old man, who is of this world, so that the new man, reborn in Christ, may live. Hence the advice of St. Paul: "Therefore, if you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, shall appear, then you too will appear with Him in glory" (Col.3:1-4).
The contemporary, apostate "church", deciding to serve the world while pretending to serve Christ, has lost its spiritual power. But we must be servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, preaching salvation in His Name. Dom Gueranger encourages us:
"Eternity in Heaven is the true Pasch: hence, our Pasch here on earth is the feast of feasts, the solemnity of solemnities. The human race was dead; it was the victim of that sentence, whereby it was condemned to lie mere dust in the tomb; the gates of life were shut against it. But see! The Son of God rises from His grave and takes possession of eternal life. Nor is He the only one that is to die no more, for, as the Apostle teaches us, 'He is the first-born from the dead.' The Church would, therefore, have us consider ourselves as having already risen with our Jesus, and as having already taken possession of eternal life" (Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year).
The Exsultet, sung by the Deacon at the Easter Vigil to the Risen Christ, represented by the Paschal Candle, is a beautiful expression of the joy that must be ours at Easter:
"Let the angelic choirs of Heaven now rejoice; let the divine mysteries be celebrated with joy; and let the trumpet of salvation resound for the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also rejoice, illumined with such resplendent rays; and enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King. Let it feel that the darkness of the whole world is dispersed…
"We beseech Thee, therefore, O Lord, that this candle, consecrated in honor of Thy name, may continue to burn to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweet savor, may it be mixed with the lights of Heaven. May the morning star find its flame alive; that star which knows no setting, that star which returning from hell, shone serenely upon mankind."
Light of Christ, shine upon us! Light our way to Heaven!
Father Louis J. Campbell
For the Easter Sunday Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, see Resurrexi
April 11, 2004
vol 15, no. 102
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons