The Resurrection of Christ changes everything

Easter Sunday

There is a custom in the Church that at Easter the Christians greet each other with the saying, “The Lord is risen”, with the response being, “He is risen indeed”.

The inspiration for this greeting can be found in the moment when the two disciples who encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem to report their encounter with the risen Lord. The Apostles responded by saying, “Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen indeed and appeared to Simon”.

The saying expresses the Easter joy of the disciples on Easter Sunday evening. It expresses the joyful faith of all Christians especially at this time when we celebrate the great feast of Easter. The resurrection of Jesus Christ to a new and glorious mode of life is the single most important element of our Christian faith.

The Resurrection of Jesus changes everything.

It means that death is not the end to human existence. The Resurrection of Christ is the foretaste of our own destiny. St Paul declares, “But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep”. (I Cor 15:20)

The resurrection of Christ is a promise of our own resurrection. This single truth shapes everything about our lives. We live in the expectation of being raised to new and glorious life.

Faith in the resurrection gives perspective to the way we live. We know that our death will be followed by a moment of judgement. We will stand before God. We must render an account of our lives with our final destiny in the balance – heaven or hell. This impels us to strive for goodness and holiness.

Confidence in life after death also enables us to bear with the burdens and sufferings that we may encounter in life. Christians are not fatalistic, but fervently believe that good can come from the trials of life, provided we accept them trusting in God and allow them to draw us into the mystery of redemption.

When we proclaim that Jesus has truly risen from the dead, we embrace a vision of life inspired by this proclamation. This faith has revolutionised not only the lives of individual believers, but has laid the foundation to many cultures, including our own. It underpins western civilisation.

However, our culture is now in the grip of two forces which are completely alien to Christianity and are actively seeking to eliminate the Christian influence within our society. We are being marginalised and crushed by laws that prevent us being who we are, especially in our institutions.

The first cultural force can be described as “philosophical postmodernism”. It denies the existence of objective and verifiable truth. In effect it establishes that there is no authority beyond the individual self. Thus, the notion of a moral code by which we humans should live is repudiated. This dangerous ideology which has captured the minds of so many, especially the young, sees reality as a political construct and moral living as meaningless.

The mind is closed to truth and conscience is supressed. They cannot see evident moral truth like the injunction in the Decalogue, “thou shalt not kill”. It is such a mentality that sees women demand the right to abort the child in the womb.

The second cultural force is often described as “cultural Marxism”. It offers the promise of a false paradise. It promotes antagonism and conflict as the means to achieve its goals. It seeks to foster and manufacture division – us against them – on the basis of some grievance.

It focuses on perceived lack of equality or opportunity, and it encourages a victim mentality. It ferments discontent and fosters social revolution. It promotes division and class warfare. It needs discontent to justify its existence. It is not about advancing the good, but seeking the breakdown of social harmony. It recognises no higher authority or truth. It is about the raw exercise of power and control of the citizens.

Its expression in actual Communist governments is there for all to see. It strives for a complete subjugation of people and rule in an absolute authoritarian manner.

These two forces, now dominant in academia and among large numbers of activists, intersect to destroy the two social institutions preventing their complete control of society – the Church and the family.

In recent days the Albanese government has sought to remove protections that ensure religious freedom in our society, especially in the conduct of our institutions, like schools, hospitals and social services. He threatens to work with the Greens to remove the right for faith-based services to operate according to their beliefs and tenets. This threatens the very existence of our institutions, and even the freedom for priests to preach the moral beliefs of the Church at Mass.

We are facing a very real and existential threat to our very freedom to be who we are. This may, in fact, come to pass.

Yet, today, on the Easter Sunday, we can declare to each other that the Lord is truly risen from the dead. This has changed everything about human life, it meaning, its purpose and its destiny. We Christians always live in hope and confidence of the final victory of truth over deception.

The resurrected Christ stands as a towering light in the midst of a darkness that envelops humanity and closes the mind. He is the ultimate victory and in the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ we are, and will always be, victorious.

So, despite all that disturbs us about the current direction of our society we declare today with joy and confidence: “The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed”.

Archbishop Julian Porteous

Saturday, 30 March 2024

Tags: Homilies