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 March 21, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 6Oakland, CA
Bishop's Column

Easter message
Christ has conquered death for all of us

Christ is risen! Let us rejoice with all our heart and soul. Indeed He is risen! Let everyone exult with joy.

How could we, in fact, fail to be filled with joy and peace at Easter? These are the days when we recall that Jesus of Nazareth, who is our very heart’s beloved, is no longer dead. He is not lost to us.

Yes, he died on Good Friday and his body was in the grave for three days, but the grave is empty. The angels and Mary Magdalen and the apostles testify. Jesus is alive body and soul in glory. The Father has preserved his beloved Son from annihilation and has given him back to us.

In Christ being carried over from death to new life, not only is he secure forevermore from the threat of death, but so are we. The death from which Jesus has been rescued was the death he died to atone for our sins, and in that dying he killed the power of all death — his own and ours.

So, not only shall we never lose him again, he shall never lose us. His rising is the pledge of our living body and soul with him and with one another for all eternity.

To me it is clear that while the Easter good news can set every heart and place to rocking and leaping with joy, our homes and families are the truest home for this joy. There, precisely where the bonds of affection are most intense and the power of love strongest, the threat of death had been most feared. Until Christ came, the loving communion of husbands and wives, children and parents seemed inescapably destined to be destroyed and dissolved. Love looked to be only “for a time,” for however many days or years were allotted to the ones we have.

But, no! Love rooted in Christ and filled with Christ is imperishable because Christ, God’s Love Incarnate, is victorious over death.

And so, the proper place, the true home for Easter joy, is the heart of the widow, the soul of the orphan, the whole being of all the parents who have ever known the crushing burden of standing at their child’s grave.

Yes, Christ is risen! Let us give ourselves over completely to joy and exaltation, and, above all, to thanksgiving, for this gift of new life—the very life that courses in the flesh of Jesus and which he shares with us in the sacraments.

Rejoice in your husbands and wives, and children and brothers and sisters, and grandparents and cousins and uncles and aunts. All who are held in the hand of Christ are secure. We are safe; our love is safe. It shall not fail or fall apart because Christ did not fail, his body did not corrupt or fall apart in the tomb.

He lives! And we, who are his, will live with him and with one another forever.

 

Previous "In His Light" Columns by Bishop Allen H. Vigneron

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