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제목 Why the Church celebrates Easter as the greatest feast of the year?(2021.4.4)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2021-04-18





Why the Church celebrates Easter as the greatest feast of the year?(2021.4.4)


Introduction


Easter, the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, is the most important feast of the year. Why is it so? The Passion and the death of Our Lord on the Cross seem to be more important because we have been redeemed by the Sacrifice of the Cross. So, it seems that we should rather celebrate Good Friday as the greatest day of the year rather than Easter. However, St Paul said: “If Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain… for you are yet in your sins” (I Cor 15; 14-17). Let us see why the Church celebrates Easter as the greatest feast of the year.


Our Christian Faith


We are Christians. We believe in God who has created us and who calls us to share in his Divine Life. We believe that Jesus Christ has been appointed by God to make us reach Divine life. We believe that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, the One who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus said: “Come to Me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you” (Mt 11;28), which means “I will refresh your souls by freeing them from sin, and by giving them the life of grace”.


When did Jesus Christ take away the sins of the world and refresh our souls? Was it when He was preaching to thousands of people and they wanted to make him be a king? Is it when He performed miracles? No. Jesus Christ saved us by His Passion, starting by his Agony in the garden up to his death on the Cross. The great Saviour of the world is Jesus taking upon Himself all the sins of the world at Gethsemane, Jesus hanging on the Cross, Jesus dying like the most miserable man. Jesus Christ offered a perfect satisfaction for sin, destroyed the empire of the devil, gave the greatest glory to God and became for us the source of life and spiritual strength. We believe that these dark and shameful hours of the Passion have been the glorious hours of the Redemption. This is our Catholic Faith, which is “foolishness for the pagans, and scandal for the Jews” (I Cor 1;23)


On Good Friday, only the Blessed Virgin Mary had such Faith. She, alone, great and unshakable in spite of all her sufferings, believed that the work of salvation was realized in the death of her crucified Son.


In order to be saved, we too must believe that Jesus Crucified has satisfied for all our sins. We must believe that Jesus Crucified has overcome the devil and his empire founded on sin. So, God has given us a powerful sign of Jesus’ victory. This sign is the physical Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the third day after his death


Physical death is the consequence and punishment of sin


Let us ask ourselves: why has God chosen the Resurrection as a sign of the victory of Christ over sin? Because of the connection between sin and death. St Paul calls “sin the sting of death” (I Cor 15;54). Let us explain.
St Paul told the Romans: “By one man sin entered into this world and by sin death… the wages of sin is death” (Rom 5; 12). Physical death is a consequence and a punishment of sin. When God had created Adam and Eve, He had granted to them and to their children the gift of immortality. But Adam had the desire of ruling himself independently from God. He broke the Commandment of God. He ate the forbidden fruit. Immediately he experienced spiritual death, that is to say the bitterness of evil committed. He lost God’s friendship. He was separated from God, the source of life. He was condemned to hell, and all his children with him. Following this spiritual death was Adam’s condemnation to physical death: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth out of which thou were taken: for dust thou art and into dust thou shalt return” (Gen 3;19). Physical death became the sign of spiritual death by sin. Physical death was the consequence and the punishment of sin.

 
Physical Resurrection is the sign of the forgiveness of sin


Redemption means the forgiveness and satisfaction for the sins of mankind. If physical death has been the sign of spiritual death, what is the most appropriate sign to show spiritual resurrection? It is physical resurrection. The physical resurrection of Jesus is the sign that His sacrifice has satisfied for all the sins of mankind. St Paul said: “If Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain… for you are yet in your sins”. In other words, which guaranty do we have that Christ’s death on the Cross has compensated for our sins? Our guarantee is the fact of Christ’s Resurrection.


Physical death was the punishment of sin. The resurrection of Jesus shows that this punishment is lifted. We will die one day, but our physical death will be for a time only. We will rise again physically at the end of the world. St Paul told the Corinthians: “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” (I Cor 15; 21); Our Lord Jesus Himself said: “I am the resurrection and the life : he that believes in Me, although he is dead, shall live.” (Jn 11;25) and elsewhere: “Now this is the will of the Father who sent Me: that of all that He has given Me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up in the last day.” (Jn 6;39).


Conclusion


The Victory of Christ over sin by His sacrifice of the Cross was far greater than His victory over physical death by His Resurrection. However, the victory of Christ over sin was entirely spiritual, invisible, mysterious. It became visible for us through the physical Resurrection of Jesus. That is why we celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus, with great magnificence rather than Good Friday, the Sacrifice of Jesus.


Now, what is the special grace of Easter? What grace does God want to grant us especially by the merits of the Resurrection of Jesus? Consider the Apostles. See how fearful and disheartened they were after the Passion and before the Resurrection. But from the time of Jesus’ Resurrection, their Faith faltered no more. They preached zealously and untiringly the Gospel everywhere in the world until they were martyred. The joy of the Resurrection, the certitude of Christ’s victory made them able to bear any suffering, to undertake any work for the love of Christ. This is the grace of Easter. The knowledge of Christ’s victory, the knowledge that Jesus dies no more, the knowledge that Jesus overcome his enemies when he seems to be defeated by them: this knowledge should always fill us with peace and spiritual joy. If Christ be for us, who is against us? (Rom 8;31).


May Our Blessed Mother fill our heart with such peace and joy until the end of our life on earth.