Today, Christians throughout the world proclaim: “The Lord is Risen! Alleluia! He is truly Risen!” And this singular, monumental event – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – is the inspiration and foundation of the entire Christian way of life.
The truthfulness of this one shining event is the overwhelming credential to the hope that all Christian believers carry in themselves. The Resurrection is the heart of faith and the source of joy to every disciple of Jesus Christ.
With this paramount importance of the Resurrection, therefore, we must ask: What indications can be seen or differences observed in the Christian believer that makes the Resurrection such an earth shattering event? How do the believers in the Lord Jesus show the significance of the Resurrection in their lives today?
A response to these sincere questions could be given in a diversity of ways, but perhaps the most obvious is found on a mount in the Holy Land over two thousand years ago. Given as a part of the Lord’s own teachings, and subsequently called the Beatitudes in the course of history, eight compelling directives, promises, and otherwise counsels for happiness and a good life were given as a way of life.
As these Beatitudes have been taken up and lived by believers (and people of goodwill) through the ages, the graces and glory of the Resurrection can be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt by the human family.
Of the Beatitudes, the seventh such promise stands out in glowing array on this Easter morning: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
The Risen Christ announces to his disciples: “Peace with you!” He explains that his peace is not of this world. What, then, is his peace? How does it apply to Easter and to a witness of the Resurrection?
God created all things and then brought them into form, giving them an order and structure. He created man and woman in his own image and placed them as stewards of the earth and the order within it. When the human family respects this order, when it is being lived out well, there is tranquility among all things.
God told our first parents to avoid relativism since human nature does not have the capacity to fulfill the demands of giving a moral identity to an action (namely, to decide whether something is good or evil). We don’t have the proper nature for such actions. Adam and Eve, however, disobeyed and sought to have a majesty above their natural state.
The original sin of our first parents caused humanity’s and all creation’s fall from grace. It introduced a break in the peace and harmony between God and humanity, within our own bodies and souls, within our fellowship with others, and between humanity and the whole of creation.
For example, original sin also weakens and wounds our human nature. Our intellects are now clouded, our wills are frail, our memories and imaginations are inconsistent, and our emotions are impulsive. Overall, our souls are now fragile and our bodies corruptible. Our inner peace is disturbed and we find a battle within ourselves for goodness. We are shocked by our attraction or inclination to darkness, even when we know it is wrong and harmful to us and our true happiness.
Sin and its darkness, therefore, breaks peace and permits chaos. Peace is a divine gift, but it is a gift threatened by the disorder of sin. For peace to be received and lived, it requires discipline, selflessness, and cooperation with grace. By ourselves, we cannot secure peace and so God has come to us as the Prince of Peace.
By his cross and resurrection, the Lord Jesus destroyed sin, healed its disorder, reestablished tranquility, secured our freedom, and offers us a restored peace.
In the person of Jesus Christ, therefore, we see a restoration and a new beginning of peace. It is a tranquility of order between God and humanity, within our own hearts, among neighbors, and between humanity and the rest of creation.
And so, on this Easter Sunday, we see the source of Christian faith and action. In the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God-Man, the Christian sees the tranquility of order and the summons to fight for it. It is a peace offered to all men and women, of every culture and language.
It is a peace beyond ideology and borders. It is a peace that compels goodness and care for ourselves and our neighbors. It is a peace that brings hope and joy. It is a peace offered to all. Will we accept this peace?