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Catholic Voice

 March 22, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA

Christ’s triumph over death is source of jubilation

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone

“Christ is risen.” “He is truly risen.”

This ancient Christian acclamation and response is heard all during the season of Easter throughout those parts of the world where Christianity took root in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. It expresses the jubilation way beyond any possible human expectation that Christ’s triumph over death signifies for us.

The Church’s liturgies of Holy Week and Easter certainly bring out for us the divine drama of what Christ underwent for us to accomplish our salvation. He rose from the dead so that we might fix our vision on high. That is, the purpose of the Christian’s life in this world is to arrive at the life of the world that is to come.

We must, therefore, look beyond the confines of this world, not seeking the material goals of this world which is passing away, but the one prize that matters, and the only good that remains beyond the grave: life with Christ. Indeed, as St. Paul tells us, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all” (1 Cor 15:19).

This true meaning of Easter is one we truly need to take to heart during these times of great challenge. While there is much darkness in the world around us, manifesting itself through dehumanizing social movements, economic hardships and crises of all kinds, we take confidence that Christ, our Light, has conquered all.

May he also conquer our hearts, so that no matter what hardships any of us may personally face, we may know the joy which only he can give and no one can take away.

As I celebrate my first Easter as the Bishop of Oakland, I am gratified and heartened by so many of our priests and priestly people who live with their sights fixed on the world that is to come, yet firmly committed to transforming the world in which we live with the saving truth of the Gospel, dispelling the darkness of the evil one and spreading the light of Christ.

A 15th-century fresco depicts Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection.

This means nothing less than disposing ourselves to allowing God to work through us so that this world might become a more accurate reflection of God’s Kingdom. I have seen this through the people of the myriad organizations, movements and ministries in this diocese, and in meeting, and interacting and worshiping with, our priests and people in my pastoral visits to our parishes. This has been a source of joy and encouragement for me, and I thank you all most sincerely.

Lent and Easter, as the ceremony of the Easter Vigil itself, is a metaphor of our life in this world: a passage from darkness into light. The Easter Proclamation sung at the Vigil service exclaims: “This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.” That triumph is the light that casts away all darkness of sin, death, sadness and gloom, and opens for us the gates of heaven.

No joy can be greater, and Christ offers it to us. As we continue to pray and serve together, let us rejoice and be grateful for the life Christ has won for us, and live as a people in this world with their vision fixed on the world that is to come.

I wish you all a happy Easter, for Christ, truly, is risen!


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