What Does Easter mean TO YOU?
Do you believe in the resurrection, in Easter?
I mean it, have you considered that because Jesus destroyed death from the inside out, that everything is different now?
If you’ve kept a fast for lent, you have some natural feeling of this. Today, you’ve had your restraints unchained and you’ve tasted (literally) a new freedom. That is a literal figure of what it meant that Jesus broke the chains of Hades. Prior to His resurrection, people had to live with the idea that death would eventually consume them — chains of Hades constantly restraining one from the freedom of life eternal. Today, because Jesus has destroyed death, He brings us freedom from death!
There is a very practical and down to earth statement for you here… it should change your life.
Hollywood Zombie Apocalypse x10
I don’t think it’s easy for people to really grab this concept, though. For Heaven’s sake! At Christ’s death on Friday, have you ever paid attention to the Gospel report? We are told:
- A massive earthquake hit
- The skies fell dark (meaning it was like nighttime)
- The temple was devastated (much worse than what happened 70 years later)
- The holy of holies within the temple was destroyed
- Tombs opened up and the dead walked again (!)
Holy Cow! Just a week earlier, the Apostles saw Lazarus, who had been in the grave long enough to stink horribly, resurrected. Then, almost like a scene from some sci-fi film about the apocalypse, everything went haywire!
Get this image in your head: the freaking dead got out of their tombs! HOLY COW!
This event, the momental, real life Hollywood special effects scene, was a byproduct of Jesus entering and harrowing Hades. St. John Chrysostom’s homily on Pascha is read at Pascha in Eastern churches to this day. It is a little different in Eastern churches because the interactive Gospel does not happen on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as it does in the Latin churches, rather, the people get to yell out during this homily read at the Divine Liturgy for Pascha:
The priest is reading this homily and he reaches a point, “Oh Death, where is your sting?” (right, that wasn’t invented by Shakespeare, but by a doctor of the Church 1000 years earlier)… “When Isaiah foresaw all this, he cried out: ‘Oh Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world!’ Hades is angered.”
The then people cry out: IT IS ANGERED!
Priest continues and the people cry out the phrases in parentheses: “Hades is angered (it is angered!) because frustrated, it is angered (it is angered!), because it has been mocked, it is angered (it is angered!) because it has been destroyed, it is angered (it is angered!), because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered (it is angered!) because it is now held captive. It seized a body and lo! it discovered God; it seized earth and behold it encountered heaven, it seized the visible and was overcome by the invisible. O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
Wow. Do you hear those words and realize what it means? Or… do you let them slip past you and put them in the part of your mind that files away information without thinking it over?
Unable to handle God, Hades groaned, the earth shook, and the people in the tombs were pushed out… Hades, after all, cannot hold the infinite God… It is thus ruptured from the inside out…
People saw this happen in real time! Can you imagine it? We have a number of paranormal shows that will talk for weeks on a strange light some guy saw in the Arkansas… If what happened over the first Easter happened today, nobody would shut up about it. Have you?
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Continuing the homily, the priest now reads what it means:
“O Hades where is your victory? Christ is risen (HE IS RISEN!) and you are abolished!
“Christ is risen (HE IS RISEN!) and the demons are cast down!
“Christ is risen (HE IS RISEN!) and the angels rejoice!
“Christ is risen (HE IS RISEN!) and life is freed!
“Christ is risen (HE IS RISEN!) and the tomb is emptied of the dead!
“for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the leader and reviver of those who had fallen asleep.
“To Him be power and glory for ages of ages! Amen.”
Do you believe it? Does this mean something to you in your daily life?
The entire world and all life was changed today!
Jesus, the Great Conqueror!
We now sing the Regina Coeli, in which we say: Christ is risen as He said… awesome… This was to fulfill His promise noted by Fr Hardon:
The resurrection of Christ is the great vindication of divine justice, which elevates those who humble themselves. In the words of St. Thomas, “Since Christ humiliated Himself even to the death of the Cross out of love and obedience to God, He was therefore exalted by God even to His resurrection from the dead.” It is this glorification of His risen humanity to which Christ refers in St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises when He says, “My will is to conquer the whole world and all my enemies, and thus to enter into the glory of my Father.”
Did He do it? Do you believe it?
For this reason, Jesus is depicted as crushing the grave and conquering the chains and restraints of death in Resurrection icons. Let Him lift you from Hades by your wrist, too!
CHRIST IS RISEN!
This article, What Does Easter mean TO YOU? is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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