Up Front and Personal

The Challenge of the Resurrection

By Carol Powell

The Lord is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia! Death and destruction is swallowed up in victory. For a while, evil seemed to thrive but the Risen Lord sends out His spirit on all humankind. Now the Word can become flesh in us, if we allow it.

That was the plan from the beginning of time when God created the universe, to spread the Love that the Trinity is, all over the world, in every human heart. Sin and the evils carried out by human beings spoiled that plan. So God sent Jesus to be a sign and a sacrament of the real God Yahweh. He didn’t just send Jesus to show us how much God loved us.  God wants us to be a replica of Jesus, not by imitating Him from the outside, but by allowing God’s Spirit to penetrate our being so that Christ could truly live in us.

This is what it means when St. Paul proclaims, “You are risen and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Our true selves, the selves that God foresaw from all eternity, become a new creation when God’s Spirit is allowed to transform our very being.

What does this mean in practical terms?  What it means is that we are remade and changed from within when our actions and thoughts are inspired by the Spirit.

That’s why the indwelling of God in our souls in so important to understand. God truly lives in us when we are baptized into Christ. If we truly understand that we are living tabernacles of God, then we would never sin because sin desecrates this living presence of God. For when we sin, it’s like throwing dirt on God’s tabernacle. The thought staggers me even as I write this. The thought also terrifies me that someday when I die the loving Trinity will read back to me these words and say, ”So why didn’t you follow your own insights?” Yet I know that God is merciful and understands our weakness.

Why do we not get serious about these Catholic doctrines we claim to believe in? Sometimes we all mouth them like parrots and become offended when others mock us for what we believe in. But do we really believe that each of us is a temple of God? Do we actually believe that we are meant to live a resurrected life by allowing Christ to live in us? Are these just words or are we ready like the early Christians and today’s Coptic Christians to give our lives for these truths, perhaps in a difficult death to our own egos and selfishness so that the true God may be resurrected in us?

As we continue our celebration of the depths of the Paschal Mystery through all of our Eucharistic liturgies this Easter season, let us be open to the challenges to the depths of our own faith presented by these celebrations. I have shared some of the challenges I hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me this resurrection season so that we all may challenge one another to ongoing new life in the resurrected Christ.

Carol Powell, retired director of religious education at St. Matthias parish, Ridgewood, currently conducts workshops on prayer in various parishes.