“Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia!”
“The Lord is truly risen, alleluia!” On behalf of Fr Simon, Fr David and myself, I wish you all a very happy and blessed Easter. We have lived through the events of Holy Week and been with Our Lord at His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, His instituting of the Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood, His arrest and trial and His bitter Passion and Death on the Cross. But now on the third day He is risen and we celebrate with great joy! This is the greatest Feast of the Church’s year.
The Gospels make it very clear that Our Lord’s resurrected body was no mere ghost, but His body was transformed and glorified. We hear St Peter say in today’s First Reading that they had “eaten and drunk with Him after His resurrection from the dead” (Acts 10:41). This was no mere spiritual resurrection. He had a physical body after He rose. Apart from eating and drinking with them, Our Lord showed them His wounds, He breathed on them and they touched Him. But there was something different about Him, because to begin with they did not recognise Him and He could pass through walls and doors (John 20:19,26). This is because He now had a glorified body.
Although all the Gospels testify to the empty tomb, this was never a factor in proving His Resurrection. What was important for the Apostles and Mary Magdalene and the other women was that they had actually seen Him, and they knew He was truly present with them. One of the qualifications for Judas’s replacement was that he had to be an eye-witness to the Resurrection, and so they chose Matthias.
So Christ is truly risen just as He said He would. Many have drawn a parallel between the tragic fire on Monday at Notre Dame in Paris, which everyone thought would totally destroy it, and the state of the Church, particularly in Europe today, which many say will soon be extinct. However, the main structure of the great medieval Cathedral miraculously survived. I was moved to see the old High Altar intact and the golden Cross symbolising the Resurrection shining out brightly. This seems to be a sign of the indefectibility of Christ’s Church. Despite the many scandals and filth in the Church today and seeming self-destruction by some of Her ministers, God will save His Church. There will always be prophets of doom, but we are an Easter people and Christ is already victorious. Let us ask Our Lady (Notre Dame) to pray for us and particularly for France, “the eldest daughter of the Church”, that the old Faith in Europe will soon rise up again out of the ashes. “O Queen of Heaven, rejoice! Alleluia. For He whom thou didst merit to bear, Alleluia, Has risen as He said. Alleluia. Pray for us to God. Alleluia!”
Fr Paul Gillham, IC