Occasionally we hear about people who “come back from the dead.” The late Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote extensively on their experiences. Lazarus in the Gospel was dead for four days, but then came back from death to this life.
That isn’t what happened with Jesus. He did not come back from death to this life. Jesus went through death to the other side, to a new and fuller kind of life, a life that never dies. All those people who came back from the dead will die again. Lazarus died again. But Jesus went through death to a new life that never dies.
Jesus has opened up for us the new world of risen life. That is the astounding part. Not only did Jesus go through death to the other side, but, as he promised, he floods upon us this new and risen life. He breathes this life into us (the literal meaning of “spirit” is “breath”– the breath of God). That is the symbolism of baptism–going through to that new life, dying to the “old world” and being born into the “new world.” That is the experience of Confirmation and Eucharist. We begin to live the new and risen life.
This is not something that awaits our death. It is something here and now. That is the nearly unbelievable meaning of Easter. We celebrate the new life that Christ has reached and that we now share. It affects the way we think and the way we look and the way we act. If we could only believe it. What an impact it has on our day-to-day living. That is the feast of Easter, Happy Easter.
The interviewer asked Joseph of Arimathea, “Now the grave you lent for Jesus is yours again. What are you planning to do with it?”
Joseph took a long look at him, and then confided, “When I heard that He had risen, naturally I raced to the tomb. He was not there. He had given my tomb back to me. So what I did after that was: I placed a comfortable bench under the trees just opposite the opening to the tomb. In the evening, as the sun is going down, I go and sit there and I think to myself, “Jesus of Nazareth has slept in his tomb and God raised Him from death. Joseph of Arimathea will also lie in this tomb, and what will God do with him?” Jesus had said, “I live and you shall live.” I can depend on that word.”