April 2002 Issue
Message Of The Risen Christ
risen Christ manifested Himself to men on Easter in manifold
ways. He sent different messages to mankind. That we may
fully be able to surrender ourselves to the feeling of Easter
joy, today let us examine some aspects of the messages of
the risen One. How many warnings, how much guidance, encouragement,
and consolation they contain!
Message To The Holy Women
first message from the risen Christ was received by those
holy women who, in the twilight of the Easter dawn when all
Jerusalem was still sleeping, lovingly hastened to Christ's
sepulcher, taking spices and ointments with which to anoint
His sacred body. Grief, as heavy as the great stone before
Christ's tomb, oppressed their loving hearts.
see. What is this? What has happened here? From a distance
they can see that the stone is no longer before the door of
the sepulcher, but lies rolled aside on the ground. What
has happened? They hasten to the tomb, they look in. The tomb
is empty. But an angel, seated upon the displaced stone,
greets them in a joyful voice: "Fear not you, for I know
that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for
He is risen as He said. Come, and see the place where the
Lord was laid" (Mt. 28: 5f.).
you hear, brethren, the first message of the risen Christ
that was proclaimed by an angel to the holy women, and to
us also? The gentle women wished to do Christ's dead body
a service. And the Lord, who never leaves unrewarded even
the least service that we render to Him, rewarded them for
this by allowing them to be the first to hear of the most
marvelous event in all history.
they wished to care only for Christ's dead body. How grateful
Christ will be to us if we care for His living body, if we
build and cherish His living body, His Church, either in our
own soul or in that of others in whom a sinful life has brought
it to ruins, and who are led back to God by our word and example!
How grateful Christ will be for our very least apostolate!
The Message To St. Peter
second message from the risen Christ was received by St. Peter,
the Peter who denied Him. The angel, still speaking to the
holy women, said: "He is risen, He is not here; behold
the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples
and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee" (Mk.
Peter." Poor Peter. Where was he, I wonder, when that
Easter day dawned? Probably he was sitting broken-hearted
behind locked doors with the other Apostles. Upon his soul
weighed the unhappy memory of his denial; upon St. John's,
the last glance of the dying Christ; upon the others, the
torturing problem of an uncertain future. In speechless silence
they sit. All at once someone knocks sharply on the door,
then again. And excited women's voices exclaim: Peter, come
immediately. Peter. The Lord has risen. He lives and greets
you. Peter, do you hear? He greets you, you, who denied
Him, you, who swore that you did not know Him, you denied
Him, but you repented. You denied Him, but you have done penance,
and therefore He no longer remembers your fall now, but greets
we not hear the Alleluia of Easter joy resounding from this
Christly message? Truly, thus does our Lord forget the sad
past of the repentant sinner who returns to Him. In the confessional
such healing balm really falls upon every sin of which we
repent. O message of pardon from my blessed Christ. How
it revives, strengthens, and consoles me when I remember the
many sins I have committed in my past life! Peter, do you
hear? The Lord greets you.
The Message To Mary Magdalen
we may quite surely believe this and that we may see still
more clearly into the merciful depths of Christ's all-forgiving
heart, the third message of this Easter Day is addressed to
another repentant sinner, to Mary Magdalen.
Easter sun is shining in full brilliance, but at the tomb
a broken-hearted, struggling soul weeps in despair. It is
Mary Magdalen. Her past is a dark shadow on her soul, but
she has been converted, she repents, and walks with bleeding
feet on the thorny path the followers of Christ must tread,
and the Lord considers her also worthy of the Easter message.
Grievously Mary Magdalen sobs beside Christ's empty sepulcher.
"They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they
have laid Him" (Jn. 20-. 13). Then
suddenly Jesus appears behind her, but Magdalen does not recognize
Him. He questions her: "Why weepest thou? Whom seekest
thou?" Magdalen thinks that the gardener is addressing
her, and replies: "Sir, if thou hast taken Him hence,
tell me where thou hast laid Him." At that the Lord
speaks in His own beloved voice: "Mary." Ah!
How many things must have flashed into Magdalen's mind at
that moment! Had the hour come of which the Lord spoke when
He said: "If I shall go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself"? (Jn.
"little while" during which "you shall not
see Me" had really passed, and the time of that other
promise had come: "Again a little while and you shall
see Me" (Jn. 16:16). Surely all
this occurred to Magdalen. Surely she thought that Christ's
kingdom had come.
the Lord speaks, and what He says is a remarkable warning:
"Do not touch Me for I am not yet ascended to My Father"
(Jn. 20: 17).
has not yet ascended to His Father, whence He will again come
and lead us home. That is, God's kingdom is not yet consummated.
Since God's Son came among us, God's kingdom is here in our
midst, but only as a seed that has been sown. God's Son broke
the power of sin, He erased our debt in the account book,
He overcame death; all this belongs to the development and
maturing of God's kingdom. Its consummation will be only
when time is no longer measured according to the sun and moon,
when Christ comes again …
He will come again. But till then the earth awaits our work,
it awaits the seed sown by our hands: "Go ye into the
whole world and preach the gospel to every creature"
(Mk. 16: 15)....
us hear the encouragement of the risen Christ's message: Among
whatever trials, conflicts, and temptations you may be, let
God's kingdom develop in your souls, endure at My side till
"I will come again and will take you to Myself."
The Message To His Enemies
resurrection, however, brought not only encouragement and
consolation, it brought also a warning; a warning message
to those who still wished to remain His enemies.
is the night before Easter. Let us see what is happening
in this silent night. All Jerusalem is asleep. ...But see,
deathly pale Roman soldiers seek the chief priests. "The
dead Christ is no longer in His grave, He is risen."
This had the effect of a thunderbolt. Something must be done
at once. If nothing else helps, then we must lie. We must
make up some tale. The people are so credulous, they will
often we meet even today with the modern editions of those
Jewish chief priests! Only lie to the people about Christ,
about the Church, about religion; they will believe everything.
Since that first Good Friday, how often has a fanatic mob
screamed to Christ's Church: To the cross with the Church!
Crucify her. Let her blood be upon us and upon our children.
holy Catholic Church is the Christ who continues to live among
us. How often has this mystical Christ also had to walk His
Calvary! How often have His enemies gone to rest at night
with the comforting reflection: At last. At last we have
settled this thoroughly.
after all, the Easter dawn always broke. The fury of His enemies
would have annihilated the Lord by shameful means, by the
cross. Ever since that moment He has reigned from the cross.
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all
things to Myself" (Jn. 12: 32)....
hearts full of hatred, the mob yelled at the foot of the cross:
We will not pay homage, we have no king, we have only an earthly
emperor. And today their voices are drowned by the tones
of another hymn: "We adore Thee, a Christ, and bless
Thee, because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world."
The Message To His Followers
gave one more message on Easter, and this was addressed to
His followers. The twilight is falling. In the houses the
lamps are lighted. In the room where the last supper was
eaten the sorrowing Apostles sit behind locked doors. They
of Christ. Peter and John have been to the sepulcher: it
was empty. The women too speak all manner of things. The
Apostles are fearful, yet they also hope... .
see, what is this? What is this brightness? It is the Lord.
With tearful eyes and trembling fingers, they caress the hem
of His garment. O dear Lord, our dear Master. And the Lord
speaks: "Peace be to you. It is 1, fear not." It
is as if He had said: Now let there be an end to sorrow.
See, I have triumphed. I have overcome sin and I have overcome
overcame sin. St. Ambrose says: "In Christ the world
is resurrected, the heaven and the earth are resurrected in
Him." The world is resurrected in this sense, that the
confusion caused by sin is fundamentally healed. From Adam
a human species has descended that was wedded to death. From
Christ a new generation descends that, through faith in Him
and through the merits of His death, has gained citizenship
in the realm of life.
was the first word of the risen Christ? "Peace be to
you" (Jn. 20: 19). And saying
this, He breathed the Holy Ghost upon them and gave them power
to forgive sins.
well the Lord knew the human soul! How well He knew that
it thirsts for peace, but sin and peace exclude each other.
That we might gain peace, He gave us forgiveness of sins.
Truly a sinful soul can have no peace. Why not? Because the
human soul is God's breath and cannot be peaceful if it loses
its resemblance to God. He who is not at peace with God, how
can he be at peace with himself? Oh, what a blessing confession
is, for it brings peace!...
alleluia, alleluia," resounds the triumphal chant of
the Church at mass on Holy Saturday everywhere in the world.
And rightly so. For the serpent of doubt and the rebellious
angel of denial both become silent in voiceless impotence
on seeing the victory of the risen Lord. Christ's resurrection
is such a fundamental, central doctrine of Christianity that
it has changed the face of the world. From it sprang the fiery
zeal of the Apostles, from it sprang the martyrs' courageous
contempt of death, the saints' self-sacrificing faith, all
the spiritual greatness, exalting power, consolation, sacred
endeavor, and ideal life that has flourished for nineteen
hundred years in the fertile soil of holy Christianity. Christ's
empty sepulcher inspired the imagination of poets, moved the
painter's brush, guided the sculptor's chisel. In the key
note, the fundamental colour or lines of all the great and
sublime that the arts of painting, sculpture, music, and architecture
have created during all the Christian centuries,
we find the triumphant mood of Christ's empty tomb, the risen
Christ's life-giving message.
let us understand our Lord's every message. The message that
He sent to the women and that spurs us to apostolic labour.
The message that He sent to Peter and that consoles our penitent
souls. The message that He sent to Magdalen and that urges
our greater spiritual maturity. And the message that He sent
to His followers and that speaks of the final victory of those
who are faithful to Him.
understands the message of the risen Christ will often repeat
this little prayer: "Help me, my Lord, to be faithful
to Thee in life so that when my arms, benumbed by death, again
move on the day of final victory, I may be able to hold fast
to Thee eternally; that when the light of life again flames
in my glazed eyes I may see Thee eternally; that when words
again resound from my cold lips I may glorify Thee eternally;
and when my still heart once more begins to beat that I may
be happy leaning on Thy sacred heart forever; O Thou victor
over sin and death, Thou victorious, blessed, risen Saviour."
from The Risen Christ, by Bishop Toth
Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am
glorified with Him. Yesterday I died with Him; today
I am given life with Him. Yesterday I was buried
with Him; today I rise again with Him. Today let
us offer Him Who has suffered and Who has risen
for us - you think perhaps I was about to say, gold,
or silver, or precious things, or shining stones
of rare price, the frail material of this earth,
which will remain here, and of which the wicked
and those who are slaves of earthly things and of
the prince of this world possess the greatest part
-rather, let us offer Him ourselves, which to God
is the most precious and becoming of gifts. Let
us offer to His Image what is made in the image
and likeness of this Image. And let us make recognition
of our own dignity. Let us give honour to Him in
Whose Likeness we were made. Let us dwell upon the
wonder of this mystery, that we may understand for
what Christ has died.
St. Gregory Nazianzenus.
God, Jesus Christ is forever perfect, lacking no perfection,
needing no increase of glory. But in His human nature, our
Lord was a creature. As a man was so unjustly condemned,
tortured and killed, that He could not rest in peace, and
allow His flesh to see corruption in the grave. It was for
this He prayed: "Now, Father, do Thou exalt Me at Thy
own side, in that glory which I had with Thee before the
world began" -(Jn. 17: 5).
Resurrection of our Saviour is the first Glorious Mystery
of the Rosary; it is the beginning of the life of eternal
of glory, which Christ has entered into with His human nature.
His divine power is now manifest to the world. Let us honour
Him, as St. Gregory Nazianzenus says, by giving Him our
whole selves, especially dwelling on this mystery in our
to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,