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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Resurrection of Christ

He is risen, he is not here.--MARK xvi. 6.

Last week, we contemplated the separation of our Lord's body and soul in death; the former was laid away in the tomb, the latter descended, as we saw, into Limbo. Today that same body and soul are reunited, and our Lord issues triumphantly from the tomb. The Gospel tells us how the holy women were on their way to anoint the body of Christ, and how, as they approached the grave, they found the great stone rolled away, the tomb empty, and an angel there to announce to them that the Lord had risen.

I. "The third day he arose again from the dead." I. The meaning of this Article of the Creed is that after Christ's death His soul and body were reunited. He returned to life, and rose from the tomb. 2. The difference between our Lord's resurrection and that of others is, that Christ raised Himself by His own power, and that He was the first who rose to die no more. 3. Christ rose on the third day, inasmuch as He was in the tomb on Friday, Saturday, and a part of Sunday. He did not rise immediately after being buried, in order to prove His humanity; He did not defer His resurrection to the end of the world, when all will rise, in order to prove His Divinity. 4. The great importance of the resurrection is in this, that Christ foretold it as the crowning miracle of His life, and the Apostles consequently preached it as the greatest proof of the Saviour's Divinity and the truth of His teaching.

II. The reasons of Christ's resurrection. 1. He rose for His own exaltation: 2. to strengthen our faith; 3. to sustain and nourish our hope; 4. to complete the work of our redemption.

III. The blessings of Christ's resurrection. I. His resurrection is the cause and model of our own future bodily resurrection. 2. Christ's resurrection is also the cause and model of our spiritual resurrection from sin. 3. The Resurrection of Christ is the basis and foundation of our religion (l Cor. xv. 14), since it is the greatest of miracles and the one to which our Lord chiefly appealed in proof of His Divinity (Luke xi. 29; John ii. 19). It is also one of the best established facts of human history. The testimony of the Roman soldiers, the many apparitions of the risen Saviour, the reluctance at first of the Apostles to believe it, and their later fearlessness in declaring it to the whole world, place the Resurrection beyond all doubt, although it is now the main object of attack on the part of unbelievers.

LESSONS of the Resurrection. l. The newness of life which we should learn from Christ's resurrection consists in the practice of virtue and in perseverance to the end. 2. The chief sign by which we may know that we have risen with Christ to this newness of life is a relish for the things that are above rather than for the things that are of earth (Col. iii. l).

Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part I


We now come to the second part of the fifth Article, and how indefatigable should be the labors of the pastor in its exposition we learn from these words of the Apostle to Timothy: "Be mindful that the Lord Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead";(1) words no doubt addressed not only to Timothy, but to all who have care of souls.


But the meaning of the Article is, that after Christ the Lord had expired on the cross, on Friday at the ninth hour, and was buried on the evening of the same day by His disciples, who with the permission of the governor Pilate laid the body of the Lord, taken down from the cross, in a new tomb, in a garden near at hand. His soul was reunited to His body early on the morning of the third day after His death, that is on Sunday, and thus He who was dead during those three days rose, and returned again to life, from which He had departed when dying.


By the word "resurrection," however, we are not merely to understand that Christ was raised from the dead,--a privilege common with Him to many others,--but that He rose by his own power and virtue, a singular prerogative peculiar to Him alone,--for it is incompatible with our nature, nor was it ever given to man to raise himself by his own power, from death to life. This was an exercise of power reserved for the omnipotent hand of God, as these words of the Apostle declare: "for although he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God."(2) This divine power, having never been separated, either from His body while in the grave, or from His soul while disunited from His body, existed in both, and gave to both a capability of reuniting; and thus did the Son of God, by His own power, return to life, and rise again from the dead. This David foretold when, filled with the spirit of God, he prophesied in these words: " His right hand hath wrought for him salvation, and his arm is holy."(3) This we also have from the divine lips of the Redeemer Himself; "I lay down my life," says He, "that I may take it again . . . and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again."(4) To the Jews He also said, in confirmation of His doctrine: " Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."(5) Although the Jews understood Him to have spoken thus of the magnificent temple of Jerusalem, built of stone, yet as the Scripture testifies in the same place, "he spoke of the temple of his body."(6) We sometimes, it is true, read in Scripture that He was raised by the Father;(7) but this refers to Him as man, as those passages which say that He rose by His own power relate to Him as God.(8)


It is also the peculiar privilege of Christ to have been the first who enjoyed this divine prerogative of rising from the dead, for He is called in Scripture " the first begotten of the dead,"(9) and also "the firstborn from the dead."(10) The Apostle also says, "Christ is risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep: for by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead. And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But every one in his own order: the first-fruits Christ, then they that are of Christ."(11) These words of the Apostle are to be understood of a perfect resurrection, by which we are resuscitated to eternal life and are no longer subject to death. In this resurrection Christ, the Lord holds the first place; for if we speak of resurrection, that is of a return to life, subject to the necessity of again dying, many were thus raised from the dead before Christ,(12) all of whom, however, were restored to life to die again. But Christ the Lord, having conquered death, rose again to die no more, according to this clear testimony of the Apostle: " Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him."(13)


The Third Day. In explanation of these additional words of the Article, the pastor will inform the people that Christ did not remain in the grave during the whole of these three days, but, as He lay in the sepulchre during an entire natural day, during part of the preceding day, and part of the following, He is said, with strictest truth, to have lain in the grave for three days, and on the third day to have risen again from the dead.


To declare his divinity, He deferred not His resurrection to the end of the world; while at the same time to prove His humanity, and the reality of His death, He rose not immediately, but on the third day after His death, a space of time sufficient to prove that He had really died.


Here the Fathers of the first Council of Constantinople added the words, "according to the Scriptures," which they received from St. Paul. These words they embodied with the creed, because the same Apostle teaches the absolute necessity of the mystery of the resurrection when he says: " If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain . . . for you are yet in your sins."(14) Hence, admiring our belief of this Article, St. Augustine says: " It is of little moment to believe that Christ died; this the Pagans, Jews, and all the wicked believe; in a word, all believe that Christ died; but that He rose from the dead is the belief of Christians; to believe that He rose again, this we deem of great moment."(15) Hence it is that our Lord very frequently spoke to His disciples of His resurrection, and seldom or never of His passion without adverting to His resurrection. Thus, when He said: " The Son of man . . . shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death," He added: " and the third day he shall rise again."(16) Also when the Jews called upon Him to give an attestation of the truth of His doctrine by some miraculous sign He said: "A sign shall not be given it, [this generation] but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was in the whale's belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights."(17)


To understand still better the force and meaning of this Article, there are three things which demand attentive consideration: first, the necessity of the resurrection; secondly, its end and object; thirdly, the blessings and advantages of which it is to us the source.


With regard to the first, it was necessary that Christ should rise again in order to manifest the justice of God; for it was most congruous that He who through obedience to God was degraded, and loaded with ignominy, should by Him be exalted. This is a reason assigned by the Apostle in his Epistle to the Philippians. " He humbled himself," says he," becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him."(18)

He rose also to confirm our faith, which is necessary for justification: the resurrection of Christ from the dead by His own power affords an irrefragable proof of His divinity. It also nurtures and sustains our hope, for as Christ rose again, we rest on an assured hope that we too shall rise again; the members must necessarily arrive at the condition of their head. This is the conclusion which St. Paul draws from the reasoning which he uses in his epistles to the Corinthians,(19) and the Thessalonians; (20) and Peter, the prince of the Apostle, says: " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto the inheritance incorruptible."(21)


Finally, the resurrection of our Lord, as the pastor will inculcate, was necessary to complete the mystery of our salvation and redemption. By His death Christ liberated us from the thraldom of sin, and restored to us, by His resurrection, the most important of those privileges which we had forfeited by sin. Hence these words of the Apostle: "He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification."(22.) That nothing, therefore, may be wanting to perfect the work of our salvation, it was necessary that as He died. He should also rise again from the dead.


From what has been said, we can perceive the important advantages which the resurrection of our Lord has conferred on the faithful; in His resurrection we acknowledge Him to be the immortal God, full of glory, the conqueror of death and hell, and this we are firmly to believe and openly to profess of Christ Jesus.

Again, the resurrection of Christ effects our resurrection, not only as its efficient cause, but also as its model. Thus, with regard to the resurrection of the body we have this testimony of the Apostle: " by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead."(23.) To accomplish the mystery of our redemption in all its parts, God made use of the humanity of Christ as its efficient instrument, and hence His resurrection is the efficient cause of ours. It is also the model. His resurrection was the most perfect of all, and as His body, rising to immortal glory, was changed, so shall our bodies also--before frail and mortal--be restored and clothed with glory and immortality. In the language of the Apostle, "we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of His glory."(24.)

The same may be said of a soul dead in sin. How the Resurrection of Christ is proposed to such a soul as the model of her resurrection we learn from the same Apostle, when he says; "Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection." Again a little further on: "Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him. For in that, He died to sin, He died once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God: so do you also reckon, that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord."(25)

From the resurrection of Christ, therefore, we should derive two important lessons of instruction: the one, that after we have washed away the stains of sin, we should begin to lead a new life, distinguished by integrity, innocence, holiness, modesty, justice, beneficence, and humility; the other, that we should so persevere in that newness of life as never more, with the divine assistance, to stray from the paths of virtue on which we have once entered.

Nor do the words of the Apostle prove only that the resurrection of Christ is proposed as the model of our resurrection; they also declare that it gives us power to rise again, and imparts to us strength and courage to persevere in holiness and righteousness, and in the observance of the commandments of God. As His death not only furnishes us with an example, but also supplies us with strength to die to sin, so also His resurrection invigorates us to attain righteousness, that worshipping God in piety and holiness, we may walk in the newness of life to which we have risen. For the Redeemer achieved principally by His resurrection, that we, who before died with Him to sin, and to the world, may rise also with Him again to a new discipline and manner of life.


The principal proofs of this resurrection from sin which demand observation are taught us by the Apostle: " If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God."(26) Here he distinctly tells us that they whose desire of life, honors, riches, and repose are directed chiefly to the place in which Christ dwells, have truly risen with Him. But when he adds: " Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth,"(27) he gives this, as it were, as another standard by which we may ascertain if we have truly risen with Christ. For as a relish for food indicates a healthy state of the body, so with regard to the soul, if we relish "whatever things are true, whatever modest, whatever just, whatever holy,"(28) and experience within us a sense of the sweetness of heavenly things, this we may consider a very strong proof that with Christ we have risen to a new and spiritual life.

1. 2 Tim. ii. 8.
2. 2 Cor. xiii. 4.
3. Ps. xcvii. 2.
4. John x. 17, 18.
5. John ii. 19.
6. John ii. 21.
7. Acts ii. 24; iii. 15.
8. Rom. viii. 34.
9. Apoc. i. 3.
10. Col. i. 18.
11. I Cor. xv. 20-23.
12. 3 Kings xvii. 22; 4 Kings iv. 34.
13. Rom. vi. 9.
14. I Cor. xv. 14, 17.
15. Aug. in Ps. cxx. 4.
16. Luke xviii. 31, 32, 33; Matt. xvi. 21.
17. Matt. xii. 39, 40; Luke xi. 29.
18. Philip, ii. 8.
19. I Thess. iv. 13.
20. I Cor. xv. 12.
21. I Pet. i. 3, 4.
22. Rom. iv. 25.
23. Phil. iii. 20, 21.
24. I Cor. xv. 21.
25. Rom. vi. 4, 5, 9-11 26. Col. iii. i. 27. Col. iii. 2.
28. I Phil. iv. 8.

Let us sing Allelujahs to the King of Glory, Who, having laid down His life for our redemption, is now rsien to the life immortal.

Come, let us rejoice in God our Saviour, Who hath redeemed His people, and is risen triumphant over the powers of hell.

Praise Our Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.

Let those speak who have been redeemed by Our Lord: who have been delivered by Him out of the hands of the enemy.

That sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, straitened with poverty, and bound in irons.

And in their tribulation they cried to Our Lord: and He delivered them from all their calamities.

And He brought them out of darkness, and out of the shadow of death, and broke asunder their chains.

Let them praise Our Lord for His wonderful deeds to the sons of men.

For He hath made the brazen gates fly in pieces, and hath broken the iron bars.

My soul, bless Our Lord: O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy greatness wonderfully to appear.

Thou hast put on majesty and glory: Thou art clothed with light as with a garment.

By the strength of Thy arm Thou hast dispersed Thy enemies: Thy youth is renewed as that of an eagle.

A voice of joy and of salvation is heard in the tents of the just.

The stone, which the builders rejected, is made the cornerstone.

This is the work of Our Lord, and it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day which Our Lord hath made: let us triumph and rejoice therein.

Make this a day of solemnity; because Our Lord is exalted above His enemies.

Sing to Our Lord a new canticle: let His praise be celebrated in the assembly of saints.

Come, let us rejoice in God our Saviour: because He hath redeemed His people:

And is risen triumphant over the powers of hell.

Jesus, Redeemer of mankind,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Who hast cleansed us by Thy Blood,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, the Conqueror of sin and death,
Have mercy on us.

We sinners: Beseech Thee, hear us.

That we may put off the old man with his acts,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That we may not be conformed to this world,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That we may deny ourselves all ungodliness and worldly desires,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That we may live soberly, justly, and piously,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That being dead to sin, we may live to justice,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That rising with Thee, our Redeemer, we may sin no more.
We beseech Thee to hear us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Let us pray:
O God, Who on this day, through Thine only-begotten Son hast overcome death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: do Thou follow with Thine aid the desires which Thou dost put into our minds and by Thy continual help bring the same to good effect. Through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.


The Resurrection of Christ
by the Rev. Thomas F. Burke, C.S.P.

I. No other fact has been such a power in the world as that which we commemorate today, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In the annals of religion and its progress, in the records of faith and its victories, in the history of morality and its advancement, in the story of charity and its achievements, there has been no factor so influential. It is bound up most intimately and closely with human life. Even those who deny it as a myth are living today under conditions which would not exist had not centuries of Christian people believed in this great fact.

The Resurrection of Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith, because it is the proof supreme of His Divinity. Throughout His whole life, indeed, Christ was the revelation of God unto man." God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world." The greatness, the beauty, the holiness, the majesty, the love, the mercy, the justice of God were manifested in the human life and actions of our Divine Lord upon earth. When an afflicted woman touched the hem of His garment and He cured her of her sickness; when the blind man cried out to Him, "Lord, that I may see," and He gave him sight; when a ruler begged that his child might not die, and Jesus infused new vigor and health; when a sister and again a mother were in grief over the loss of a loved one, and He called the dead back to life; when a thief dying on a cross sought for pardon, and Jesus washed away the guilt of sin-- in these and in many other instances He gave proof that He was divine.

All these, however, are subordinate to the one grand, triumphal fact which is the corner-stone of Christianity, and upon which all the rest of the structure depends--the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. So could the Apostle say: "If Christ be not risen from the dead, vain is our preaching, vain is your faith."

He who admits the Resurrection must hold to Christ's Divinity, and consequently to His divine right to be the Guide and Teacher of man. On the other hand, he who denies the Resurrection will not hesitate to sacrifice altogether belief in the divine prerogatives and the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

II. Relying upon the Gospel narrative, my dear brethren, and upon the innumerable references throughout the New Testament, we must conclude that no fact in the world's history is more incontestably established than the Resurrection of Christ; and yet we are brought face to face with the denial of this, by some at least.

The New Testament gives us evidence after evidence of the Truth, God Himself foretold His resurrection. The spirit of prophecy rested upon Him, and at times, for the sake of His followers, He lifted the veil that hangs beyond and revealed the vision, dimly it may have been, of future triumph and glory. When some would ask Him for a sign. He spoke of the sign of Jonas the prophet: " For as Jonas was in the whale's belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights" (Matt. xii. 40).

When about to go up to Jerusalem for the last time. He foretold what would happen to the Son of man: "The scribes and Pharisees . . . shall deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, and the third day he shall rise again" (Matt. xx. 18, 19).

At the time of His glorious transfiguration, when His favored Apostles would have rushed through the world proclaiming the miracle, "he charged them not to tell any man what things they had seen, till the Son of man shall be risen again from the dead" (Mark ix. 8).

Again, "Destroy," said He, "this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spoke of the temple of His body" (John ii. 19, 21).

These are but examples of His declarations to the effect that His suffering would be followed by joy, His night by day, His death by victory. His words were so understood and acted upon by the rulers of the Jews. "Sir," they said to Pilate "we have remembered, that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead" (Matt. xxvii. 63, 64). The Jews therefore were prepared for any trickery.

The lifeless body was placed in the tomb; a special detachment of Roman soldiers, with instructions to more than ordinary watchfulness, was placed on guard and the tomb itself was officially sealed. Despite these measures, defying the seal of Rome and its Roman guardians, Christ rose triumphantly from the dead. On the very day of His resurrection He appeared unto the repentant and the rejoicing Mary Magdalen. Then to Peter, His chosen vicar, and to John, His especially beloved. In the evening of the same day He walked with two of His followers to the town of Emmaus, and later appeared unto His assembled Apostles.

After the first day, at least six separate appearances are recorded. As before His death, now after His resurrection, He conversed with His Apostles, spoke to His disciples, ate and drank with them. He brought certainty to the doubting Thomas, the sceptic apostle whose fault begot those consoling words, "Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed." Upon a mountain in Galilee, in the midst of five hundred people, beside the sacred shores of the Lake of Tiberias, He appeared and spoke the words of light before which all lingering shadows of doubt were dispelled, and the flower of hope was newborn.

In reality, my dear brethren, if there be one fact in history which is better entitled to credit than any other, I do not hesitate to say that that fact is the glorious resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. Never, no, never, within the memory of man was any transaction transmitted through every successive generation, from the period of its occurrence to the present day, amid such a blaze of evidence. It is attested by the positive and unexceptionable testimony of persons of the highest integrity, who were themselves eyewitnesses of it, who saw Jesus dead, and who afterward beheld Him alive; who beheld Him not once or twice only, but frequently; not transiently, but for a considerable time; who not only beheld Him but who heard Him, conversed with Him, touched Him, ate and drank with Him, and had every imaginable certainty, both of the reality and identity of His person which it was possible for the evidence of the senses to convey, and who proved, moreover, their honesty and sincerity by that best of arguments, the shedding of their blood.

Had Christ not risen from the dead, there would be no Christianity. Had not Christ risen from the dead, the preaching of the Apostles would have been vain, and the people's faith would 'have been vain. A vain preaching and a vain faith would have failed long since. Nineteen centuries would not have passed to find that preaching and hope as strong as ever. Had it been a vain preaching, it would have been annihilated in the ten great persecutions which the power of mighty Rome concocted for its destruction. Had it been a vain preaching, it would have succumbed to the efforts of him who when dying was forced to cry out: " Galilean, Thou has conquered." Had it been a vain preaching, it would have been swept from the face of the earth in the avalanche of paganism that from the north broke through the gates of the empire. Had it been a vain preaching, the third, second, yes, the first century would have stood beside its grave.

III. Yet in the light of these evidences, there are those today who deny the Resurrection. Upon theoretical grounds they declare its impossibility, because they hold that miracles in general are impossible. It is a question of fact more than theory. They would say: " God cannot interfere with the established laws of the universe and the decrees of nature."

God cannot interfere? What kind of a God? An impotent abstraction of the mind? But God is more than this. He is a reality, a personality. We are free agents. Our freedom is a perfection. If there be a God, He too must be free, and this implies the right and the power to make exceptions to His own laws.

IV. We can see that loss of faith in the Resurrection has brought with it the loss of belief in Jesus Christ, God and man, and is leading to the entire giving up of faith in God and the life to come. What is the cause of this ? One cause is disbelief in the records of the Resurrection, disbelief in the Scriptural account. Now, I maintain that the only place where belief in the Scriptures is securely retained, and the only place therefore where the fact of the Resurrection is safely guarded, is within the Catholic Church. She is the bulwark of the Resurrection. She is the one living witness of the fact that Christ rose from the dead.

Look about the world Today and you will find no body of people among whom there is the same respect, the same reverence, for the Scriptures as among the members of the Catholic Church. You will find no other church that holds with the same steadfastness to the sacredness of their character.

While among Christians outside the Catholic Church the principle of private interpretation of the Scriptures has led men to believe what they like, and has opened the way not only to difficulty but no doubt, she has stood in calm serenity and has held to her position as the teacher of men, the authoritative interpreter of Scriptures, appointed by Jesus Christ. While outside of her fold men are gradually coming to look upon the Scriptures as any other literature, she has unflinchingly declared them to be supreme over all other writings, to be the inspired truth of God. While at the best many will accord them only the credence given to human history, with its liability to prejudice and error, she proclaims them to be without error, because they are a Divine record of facts, stamped with the seal of heaven itself. While among skeptics the Scriptures are considered to be only a legendary legacy of bygone days, she, filled with the consciousness of her identity through the ages, can tell the world Today, as she has told it through nineteen centuries, "I know that these things are true." And when, as the time goes on, amid those who have sacrificed belief in the Divine character of the Scriptures, they shall lose for them even the regard that is paid to human documents, she will stand, as heretofore, their staunchest defender.

V. Church of Christ, Thou art the one witness upon earth Today of the Resurrection. Thou alone hast breasted the storms of the centuries. Thou canst thus speak to the world: "Before Rationalism was, I am; before the Unitarian and the Socinian, I am; before Renan and Strauss, I am. Nations have lived and died; people have risen and fallen: ages have come and gone, I have witnessed their coming and their going. I have stood firm and unshaken amidst the storms of persecution, the assaults of infidelity, the ravages of licentiousness. I can carry the mind back to the time when the 'smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon and camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian Amphitheater.' I have witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, the downfall of Constantinople, the conquest of Rome. I have witnessed the formation of the Christian nations of Europe; I have seen the savage civilized, the barbarian educated, the wild warrior subdued. I can link the twentieth century with the first. I have witnessed many of the events recorded in the New Testament. I am the living witness of all Christian ages, and I bear my testimony unto this day that Christ has risen."

VI. Today, then, is the day of Christ's triumph, the day of the Church's rejoicing, that Church to which has been committed the preaching of the faith founded on His Resurrection. On the day of His death the world triumphed. Beside the cross the voice went up: "Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days buildest it up again: save thyself, come down from the cross." Even then a word would have brought an army of smiling angels bearing fiery swords; even then a word would have struck down His persecutors; even then, did He desire it, that scene of death and defeat could have been changed into a heavenly victory. He could, but He would not, for then He was suffering for a guilt that was not His own. On the morn of the Resurrection another voice spoke. When the holy woman arrived at the tomb, an angel clothed in white stood before them and cried out, " He is risen, he is not here."

"Vah, . . . save thyself, come down from the cross."

And the triumphant answer rolls on through the centuries: "He is risen, He is not here."

Through the world it echoes: "He is risen, as He said." It is the foundation of Christianity. The Apostles preached it and they knew whereof they spoke.

He is risen! It is confusion to the deniers of Christ's Divinity, for, well founded as it is, it cannot be reasonably denied.

He is risen! It is the sign of Faith, inspiring that belief without which there is no salvation.

He is risen' It is the promise and the hope of our resurrection upon the last day.

As we take a broad general view of the centuries, we seem to be standing in the nave of some vast cathedral. Over the distant altar we can see the inscription, " He is risen, as he said." From within this cathedral there issues forth the Christian song of triumph. Within its confines are gathered the hosts of witnesses from all times. We hear again the Evangelists chanting solemnly the simple story of Easter morn. We hear the whole body of the Apostles taking up the refrain and sounding it into all their followers. We hear St. Paul reiterating the sacred words and proclaiming that there is no Christianity without faith in the Resurrection. We hear the witnesses of the first centuries, the martyrs, clothed in blood-red garments, telling how with their life they bore testimony to the Resurrection of Christ. We hear Athanasius, the Saint of the Divinity, using the fact of the Resurrection against his adversaries; we hear his followers, the defenders of Christianity, smiling in their turn with the unanswerable argument of the Resurrection. From each century a song, and all unite in one grand symphony. The mighty anthem goes up; the song of triumph cleaves the sky: Resurrexit sicut dixit, "He has risen, as he said."

And if by some miraculous power it were given us to look into the court of heaven; if for a moment, on this day, the eternal gates were lifted, we could hear issuing forth the song of the myriad angels, companions of those who stood within the tomb, the song of heaven's triumph: Resurrexit sicut dixit, "He has risen, as he said."

Right, then, is it that the Church on earth should on this day, above all others, rejoice. She sings today the triumph of her Founder. She chants today the glory of the Son of God. Our hearts, our wills, our minds, our souls are with her. The faith which springs up lively within our souls, the fountain of justification; the hope that inspires us in consequence of the great fact we commemorate; the charity towards God and man which is to be found only in the Christian heart; the joy that is the fruit of all these; the joy of sympathy with Jesus Christ the Victor, the Conqueror--all these are summed up in that cry which our beloved Church in her raptures of love repeats again and again: Resurrexit sicut dixit," He said he would arise, and he has risen."



Throughout the world, wherever the light of our holy faith shines, is heard today the joyful cry of the Catholic Church: "Alleluia, Christ is risen!" Why, we may be asked, are all men thus called to share in the joy of our Lord's resurrection? It is because He accomplished this work for all mankind as well as for Himself. Just as it was for us that He assumed human nature and suffered on the cross, so was it for us that He rose again from the dead. He rose in order to fill our hearts with joy and consolation, and therefore we may regard Easter as a most joyful festival.

I. That we may fully realize the gladness of Easter, let us once more survey the days that have just passed. Everything in their course suggested our Lord's suffering and death: the lamentations, the black vestments worn by the priests, the bare altars, the silence of the bells, all recalled to us more vividly than ever the Apostle's words that Christ became "obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross." Silently, in sorrow and mourning, we accompanied our Lord in thought from the Mount of Olives to Golgotha; we watched His agony in the Garden of Gethsemani and heard the sentence against Him pronounced by His unjust judges; we listened to the strokes of the cruel scourge, tearing His tender Body, we saw the crown of thorns piercing His Sacred Head, and we seemed to catch the words of the infuriated mob crying: "Crucify him; his blood be upon us and upon our children!" We saw Him staggering under the weight of the cross on the way to Calvary, and heard the blows of the hammer with which they nailed Him to the cross; we beheld Him raised aloft, amid the jeers and insults of His enemies, and we heard His last words: " It is consummated; Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." We watched His Sacred Head sink in death, and finally we stood by when His most holy Body was laid in the grave. Had His enemies really triumphed? Had death gained dominion over Him? Would the grave be His last resting place? No, death had no power over the Lord of life.

II. Where God intends to display His omnipotence, the world's resistance is vain and ineffectual. He broke open the gates of death and destroyed its sway. In spite of the heavy stone barring the entrance to the sepulchre, in spite of the official seal set upon it, and in spite of the guards, our Lord triumphed over death on the morning of Easter Sunday, came forth from the grave and returned to life in undying glory. By His own power and authority, He took back the life that He had voluntarily laid down on the cross. Yes, our Lord did indeed rise again on the third day, as He had often foretold, and not only the angels, the pious women and His disciples, but also the soldiers guarding the sepulchre, and even His enemies, bore witness to His Resurrection. It is as much beyond question as any event that ever took place; it is no less certain than His birth and life, and St. John Chrysostom is right in saying: "If Jesus did not rise again, it cannot be true that He ever was born."

III. Let us then rejoice at our Lord's Resurrection, for thereby He has given us the surest proof that He is in truth our Redeemer and the Son of God. We know that the sentence pronounced against us by God's justice has been recalled, and the guilt of our sins removed, so that we have regained the grace and friendship with God which had been lost to us through sin. We know in whom we believe, and no doubt or uncertainty can ever disturb us. By His Resurrection Jesus showed Himself to be indeed the Son of God, and therefore what He teaches is the absolute truth, far above the conflict of human opinions and the errors of our age. Our glad conviction is based on no learned arguments, nor on the laborious investigations of men liable to error, nor on our own views which today seem true and tomorrow appear false; but it rests on the Word of the Son of God, which abideth forever. All the promises that He made to the just and righteous will be fulfilled, as well as the threats uttered against the ungodly; no word of His will remain void. If He had not risen from the dead, we should be, as St. Paul says, the most miserable of men, for without His Resurrection there would have been no Redemption, and we should still be in darkness and error; without it all our good works would have been unprofitable, and all our hopes vain.

Rejoice, therefore, every Christian soul, for your Redeemer liveth; He, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, hath triumphed; He hath overcome death, and by His Resurrection hath manifested His Godhead to the whole world. Amen.