"Judging from the present condition of the world, we must conclude that the four horsemen we read about in the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible, are already afoot. As the first four of seven seals are opened, the first horseman rides forth on a white horse with a bow in his hands, representing war. The second, representing strife, rides a red horse, and takes peace from the earth, turning men against one another in bloody conflict. The third, riding forth on a black horse and carrying a scale in his hands, represents famine. And the fourth, riding a pale-green horse and representing pestilence, is called Death, with hell following him."
Christ is risen! He is truly risen!
The Four Horsemen of Death cannot touch us if we, resurrected with Christ, cooperate with His graces for eternal happiness because He has conquered death and through Him we are dead to this world for...
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Double of the First Class Solemnity of the Resurrection of Our Lord, he reminds us emphatically that we can only truly celebrate Christ's Resurrection if we accept and believe, as every Catholic must, that we are already dead to this world. Realizing this, we have no fear of what man will do to us for neither War, Strife, Famine or Pestilence can harm the soul. But those who value the world, the flesh and the devil have much to fear for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have already begun their gallop over this earth. Father encourages us to take comfort in Christ's victory over death and sin, to be consoled by the optimism of the Exultet which illustrates so well the fact that the darkness is obliterated by the Light of Christ - the Light of Truth which cannot be suppressed. Christ's Rays are forever to those who choose to bask in His graces for He is risen as He said. Alleluia! [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]
We celebrate with joy the greatest of all feasts, that of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Once again the Church resounds with the cry, "Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is truly risen!" We have put off the somber aspects and penitential robes of Lent and adorned our altars with the bright banners and fragrant flowers of Easter. The Church now begins a season of joyful celebration, which is quite unlike the way the world celebrates. The world rejoices in its sin, which leads only to death, while we have already died, and are alive to God.
Did you know that you are already dead to this world? That you have already passed from death to life? St. Paul explains in his Epistle to the Romans:
"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" (Romans 6: 3-11).
We said that the world's way of rejoicing leads only to death. In fact, the world is afflicted by a fatal disease, the symptoms of which are greed, lust, anger, violence and war. The world rewards the powerful and the strong and deprives the innocent and the weak of their very lives, as we see in the case of Terri Schiavo and her cruel tormentors. But we who have died with Christ in Baptism do not fear the death of the body. We say with St. Paul: "Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" (1 Corinthians 15: 54,55). May God show His mercy to Terri Schiavo, and grant her fullness of life in Heaven.
Judging from the present condition of the world, we must conclude that the four horsemen we read about in the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible, are already afoot. As the first four of seven seals are opened, the first horseman rides forth on a white horse with a bow in his hands, representing war. The second, representing strife, rides a red horse, and takes peace from the earth, turning men against one another in bloody conflict. The third, riding forth on a black horse and carrying a scale in his hands, represents famine. And the fourth, riding a pale-green horse and representing pestilence, is called Death, with hell following him. "And there was given him," it says, "power over the four parts of the earth, to kill with sword, with famine, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth" (Apocalypse 6: 1-8).
But we who have died to sin and risen with Christ, what have we to do with the paganism that surrounds us, with the posturing and lying of world leaders, with the grotesque displays and obscenities of world figures who are sliding swiftly down the slippery slope to hell? We have died to all these things, and our hearts are with our Risen Lord and His saints in Heaven above.
In the midst of the darkness of this world there appears a light, and the only hope of the world, the light of Christ, which we represent in this holy celebration by the Paschal candle. From the Exultet, in which the Church proclaims the beautiful symbolic meaning of the Paschal candle, we read:
"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 dispersedů
"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."
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is truly risen!
Father Louis J. Campbell