If Faithful, We Too Can Share Christ’s Promise of Joy Forever
By Bishop David J. Malloy
We celebrate on Sunday the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. That event, which truly did happen, changed the history of the world. 
For the first time, one who had undergone death came back to life, not just for a time like Lazarus or the son of the widowed mother. Instead, his return to life was both glorified and eternal. As St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over Him.” (Rm 6:9).
Over each one of us hangs the reality of death. We are aware that our own life in this world will one day come to an end. All our hopes and desires for continuing existence are confronted by the fact that despite the progress of science and medicine, each of us will die. In addition, the death of those we know and love, those who have most made our life to be joyful and worth living, is also inevitable. But the incarnation, Christ’s coming among us and taking on our human condition, has given us new hope. 
Jesus has been made to be the head of the human race. And so we are joined to Him. When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan, He did so to lead us to baptism. We were joined to Him in His victory over temptation in the desert. When Jesus was on the cross, He went through death with us and for us.
But all of that reached its climax on Easter Sunday. As Jesus told us, every person will be called forth from the tomb on the last day, “those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.” (Jn 5:29).
The celebration of Easter reminds us that our lives of faith unite us to Christ our Head. Because of His resurrection, we have the sure hope in the forgiveness of sins. We too shall not die forever. If we have been faithful, we will come forth from the tomb to share Christ’s promise of joy forever in His kingdom.
The accounts of the early Church, and their encounters with the risen Christ, also have an important message for our time. Those to whom Jesus appeared for the 40 days after Easter made clear that their experience was not simply of a vision or a phantasm. It was Jesus in His physical body among them that they knew and loved.
Jesus asked His disciples for something to eat and consumed it before them to show how real was that body. He invited Thomas to feel the wounds that He still bore. But that body was also glorified, able to appear and disappear, passing through walls into locked rooms. At times His friends recognized Him facially. At other times, they knew Him because their hearts were on fire as they talked to Him.
This is important because our age often treats the body as an external element attached to us which we can manipulate or even discard at our pleasure. If we treat our bodies as a sacred gift that is destined to share in the glory of the Resurrection, we would understand why the immorality of our era offends the dignity of the body. For this reason, too, the Catholic faith calls us to bury respectfully the remains of our bodies as they await the day of the Resurrection.
The Resurrection changes everything about this world and about our lives. We shall not die forever. And in faith we await our own glorification like that of Jesus on this day. 
A Blessed Easter to one and all!