Friday, April 19, 2024

Life in Christ: Our Resurrection Has "Already Begun"

Through baptism, we are united with Jesus and made adopted children of God and heirs to the fullness of His Kingdom. We have been given a participation in the Divine life, and through supernatural grace this life grows within us and transforms us. Grace awakens and sustains in us the very freedom by which we cooperate with its working in us, and become lovers of the God who has loved us first.

The Easter Season is a time of abundant grace for the newly-baptized, who died to sin and rose to new life in Christ at the Easter Vigil. At Easter, all Christians renew their "baptismal promises," their adherence to Christ living in His Church, fostered by the path of the liturgical seasons and nourished concretely by the sacraments.

Christ has entered the history of our lives and claimed us as His own, beginning with the event of our baptism. His love always comes first, opening up our lives to follow Him and to be His witnesses—to further "embody" His saving love in the lives of others as our Christian vocation unfolds.

God gives Himself to us; He draws us into a personal relationship with Himself; He is leading us to our destiny which is to share forever in His glory, to behold and to love forever the One who is the fullness of all goodness, to belong to Him forever.

The glorified Jesus is with us now, in the Eucharist above all, and also through His actions in the Sacraments, in the Scriptures, and in the abundant ways in which the life of the Church "specially consecrates" by signs, gestures, exhortation, commissioning, or other “official” actions many people, places, and things that engage us as Catholic Christians every day. Here too we must remember our very selves, our families, and our “faith-communities” in which we travel together as brothers and sisters—members of one another in Christ, consecrated by baptism as “a royal priesthood, a holy people.” We are “the Church,” gathered together to worship God through Christ (joined to Christ’s once-for-all offering of Himself “made present” for us in the wonder of the Eucharistic Sacrifice), and called to serve one another in the communion of “agape,” and to help and strengthen one another through friendships founded on Christ.

All of this is bound up with the fact that Jesus also lives "in" us by the Holy Spirit, in our prayer and our love for God, one another, our neighbor, and all people (as we live out this love in different ways). In our hearts the Lord has already mysteriously initiated the gathering up the whole of creation for that final, definitive renewal of “all things.” For Christians, eternal glory has "already begun," secretly, in the very heart of this ordinary life, because Jesus has embraced all human life and defined it according to the measure of His love. Through Jesus and in the Holy Spirit, the Father pours out this love in the depths of our hearts, empowering us to exist and act in new ways, supernatural ways, for His glory through His Son, Jesus, who lives in us and consecrates through us the times and circumstances entrusted to us in history.

God dwells in us, engendering within us a new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus. He calls us to cooperate with His redeeming and transforming grace right now, in whatever actions we undertake, and whatever sufferings we endure.

The Risen Jesus is shaping our whole humanity: our eating and drinking, waking and sleeping, living and dying.

Christianity is not external to the "real," mundane, humble, humanly-ordinary concerns of our lives. Rather, it illuminates them and opens us up to their true meaning.