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Easter Vigil, Year C

Gospel, First Reading & Psalm


Second Reading


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GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

...A second thing that’s really crucial to highlight about the Resurrection is the element where the text says, “They went in and did not find the body.” I cannot stress this enough, when we talk about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have to make absolutely sure that we know what we’re speaking about. There’s lots of confusion about what we mean by the Resurrection of Jesus. And all of that can be cleared up if we focused on that word, right there: they did not find “the body”. The Greek word there is soma. And when it’s talking about a dead body it means “a corpse”. So, when we talk about the Resurrection of Jesus, the discovery of the empty tomb, the fact that there’s no corpse in the tomb is a crucial element for understanding what the first Christians would have meant by Resurrection. There are a few false ideas of Resurrection out there that we need to make sure we aren’t thinking about when we proclaim this truth. So for example, number 1, in 1st Century Judaism, Resurrection did not mean a simple return to ordinary life. It’s not just a “resuscitation” (even a miraculous resuscitation). We see examples of that elsewhere in the Bible: Jesus brings Jairus’ daughter back to life; Jesus brings Lazarus back to life. We even see people raised from the dead in the Old Testament, like when the man touches the bones of Eli’sha. But in every one of those cases, although the language of “being raised up” could be used to describe it, there is a fundamental difference between what happened to Jairus’ daughter or Lazarus and what happens to Jesus. Because with Jairus’ daughter or Lazarus, they’ve returned to ordinary earthly life, and eventually they’re going to die again. You can actually see this with Jairus’ daughter. Jesus brings her…she “wakes up” so-to-speak. And even Lazarus, Lazarus comes out of the tomb in his body, but eventually they even try to kill him – he’s going to die again. But with Jesus, something fundamentally different has taken place here. It’s not just the reunion of his soul and his body. He’s not returning to ordinary life, he’s entering into a new mode of existence in which he will never die again. It’s not just the immortality of his soul, it’s the everlasting life of his risen and glorified body. You can’t see that as clearly in Luke’s gospel here, but if you look at Matthew’s account it’s a little clearer. Because in the gospel of Matthew, when they get to the tomb, the stone is still there; and it says that the angel rolls away the tomb for the women. They couldn’t have rolled it away for themselves. It would have been very, very heavy. And so when they go into the tomb, there’s no corpse there. Now this is fundamentally different than Lazarus because it means that Jesus’ new resurrected body passed through the stone. He passed through the tomb. They didn’t have to roll the stone away for Jesus to come out. He’s in a new mode of existence, just like he will pass through the walls on later occasions when they’re in the upper room. So number 1: Resurrection is not just a return to ordinary earthly life.

Number 2: Resurrection is not just the immortality of Jesus’ soul. Please, please, please make this clear. There are lots of people out there who think, or even who even claim, that when Christians say that Jesus was raised from the dead, what we mean is that “his spirit lives on”. “His soul went on to be with God”, “He’s immortal” or “he lives in the hearts of men” or something like that. No, no. The Greeks have a word for that. It’s Athanasia – immortality. And to be sure, Jesus’ soul is going to live forever, but that’s not what the early Christians were proclaiming when they talked about the Resurrection. When they talked about the Resurrection they were proclaiming that something had happened to his soma, something happened to his body, something happened to his corpse. The foundational truth of Christianity involves a corpse being transfigured and resurrected, entering into a new state in which that body would never die again. So it isn’t just the immortality of Jesus’ soul. And again, what’s the clue to this? It’s the empty tomb. It’s a fundamental sign that shows us that the truth of the Resurrection isn’t about “Jesus’ spirit appearing to someone in a dream after he’s died and consoling them”. It’s about something happening to his body. He is now alive again in his body.
..

SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

So let’s just start in Romans 6:3, and we’ll read through it and then we’ll come back and unpack it and try to relate it to Baptism. Paul says this:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Beautiful, powerful passage here...so much to say about it. Let’s just walk through it step by step. The first point is about Baptism. I love that St. Paul begins here by saying:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)

And I can imagine some of the readers saying, “Well, no, I actually didn’t realize that.” Or at least, I know for a fact that today many people might be unaware that Baptism was principally about being immersed—that’s what baptizō means—being plunged into the death of Christ.

Why do I say that a lot of people might be surprised by that language? Well, in our own day and time, the Sacrament of Baptism gets described in all kinds of ways. So, I’ve been to many baptisms. Sometimes Baptism is described as a sacrament that removes original sin. That, of course, is the case. In that case, it’ll be like a sacrament of forgiveness, sacrament of cleansing.

In other cases, Baptism is described as the sacrament that incorporates us into the Body of Christ, and that, of course, is true as well. There the sacrament becomes one of communion, of joining us to Jesus and as members of His Mystical Body. Other times, I’ve heard the Sacrament of Baptism described as one in which the Holy Spirit comes down to dwell in the soul of the Baptized person. In that case, it’s a sacrament of indwelling, and that is true as well. That the gift of the Holy Spirit—the indwelling power of the Trinity, in fact—coming to dwell in the soul of the baptized is one of the graces, one of the beautiful mysteries of the sacrament.

Very rarely, however, have I been to a Baptism where the Baptism was described as crucifixion, as a co-crucifixion with Christ, where the emphasis was put on the fact that your baby (often the infant Baptism) or this person is being baptized into the death of Jesus. But that’s how Paul sees Baptism. He’s highlighting the mystery of Baptism as what we might call the sacrament of crucifixion and resurrection.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death...

So pause there. When Paul’s thinking of Baptism, he’s obviously thinking of the imagery of what the Greek word connotes, which is immersion into water. But here Paul says that in Baptism, we’re actually being buried with Christ. So it’s not just the mystery of the cross, it’s also the mystery of His tomb. That in a sense, just as Christ’s body was buried in the tomb, so too we are buried in the waters of Baptism. We are immersed into the death of Jesus:

...so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

So Paul thinks of Baptism, first and foremost, as a sacrament of crucifixion and resurrection, where we are (in a sense) being co-crucified with Christ and then co-resurrected with Christ. That’s redundant to say co/with, but you get my point. I think one of the reasons this is often lost in contemporary Catholic catechesis on Baptism is in part just because of the way the rite works. Because in most contemporary contexts, we don’t actually bury a person into the water. We don’t practice immersion. It’s not the customary form of Baptism in the Roman rite, in the Latin rite. Normally, we’ll either have sprinkling in the form of infant Baptism or with pouring like with an adult Baptism, where the water will be poured over their head.

But when Paul is describing Baptism, he’s thinking here, for example, about the Baptism of St. John the Baptist, where people would immerse themselves in the water of the Jordan and then come up out of the water—so that the symbolism of death and resurrection is much more apparent.

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Gospel, First Reading & Psalm


Second Reading


***Subscribe or Login for Full Access.***

GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

...A second thing that’s really crucial to highlight about the Resurrection is the element where the text says, “They went in and did not find the body.” I cannot stress this enough, when we talk about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have to make absolutely sure that we know what we’re speaking about. There’s lots of confusion about what we mean by the Resurrection of Jesus. And all of that can be cleared up if we focused on that word, right there: they did not find “the body”. The Greek word there is soma. And when it’s talking about a dead body it means “a corpse”. So, when we talk about the Resurrection of Jesus, the discovery of the empty tomb, the fact that there’s no corpse in the tomb is a crucial element for understanding what the first Christians would have meant by Resurrection. There are a few false ideas of Resurrection out there that we need to make sure we aren’t thinking about when we proclaim this truth. So for example, number 1, in 1st Century Judaism, Resurrection did not mean a simple return to ordinary life. It’s not just a “resuscitation” (even a miraculous resuscitation). We see examples of that elsewhere in the Bible: Jesus brings Jairus’ daughter back to life; Jesus brings Lazarus back to life. We even see people raised from the dead in the Old Testament, like when the man touches the bones of Eli’sha. But in every one of those cases, although the language of “being raised up” could be used to describe it, there is a fundamental difference between what happened to Jairus’ daughter or Lazarus and what happens to Jesus. Because with Jairus’ daughter or Lazarus, they’ve returned to ordinary earthly life, and eventually they’re going to die again. You can actually see this with Jairus’ daughter. Jesus brings her…she “wakes up” so-to-speak. And even Lazarus, Lazarus comes out of the tomb in his body, but eventually they even try to kill him – he’s going to die again. But with Jesus, something fundamentally different has taken place here. It’s not just the reunion of his soul and his body. He’s not returning to ordinary life, he’s entering into a new mode of existence in which he will never die again. It’s not just the immortality of his soul, it’s the everlasting life of his risen and glorified body. You can’t see that as clearly in Luke’s gospel here, but if you look at Matthew’s account it’s a little clearer. Because in the gospel of Matthew, when they get to the tomb, the stone is still there; and it says that the angel rolls away the tomb for the women. They couldn’t have rolled it away for themselves. It would have been very, very heavy. And so when they go into the tomb, there’s no corpse there. Now this is fundamentally different than Lazarus because it means that Jesus’ new resurrected body passed through the stone. He passed through the tomb. They didn’t have to roll the stone away for Jesus to come out. He’s in a new mode of existence, just like he will pass through the walls on later occasions when they’re in the upper room. So number 1: Resurrection is not just a return to ordinary earthly life.

Number 2: Resurrection is not just the immortality of Jesus’ soul. Please, please, please make this clear. There are lots of people out there who think, or even who even claim, that when Christians say that Jesus was raised from the dead, what we mean is that “his spirit lives on”. “His soul went on to be with God”, “He’s immortal” or “he lives in the hearts of men” or something like that. No, no. The Greeks have a word for that. It’s Athanasia – immortality. And to be sure, Jesus’ soul is going to live forever, but that’s not what the early Christians were proclaiming when they talked about the Resurrection. When they talked about the Resurrection they were proclaiming that something had happened to his soma, something happened to his body, something happened to his corpse. The foundational truth of Christianity involves a corpse being transfigured and resurrected, entering into a new state in which that body would never die again. So it isn’t just the immortality of Jesus’ soul. And again, what’s the clue to this? It’s the empty tomb. It’s a fundamental sign that shows us that the truth of the Resurrection isn’t about “Jesus’ spirit appearing to someone in a dream after he’s died and consoling them”. It’s about something happening to his body. He is now alive again in his body.
..

SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

So let’s just start in Romans 6:3, and we’ll read through it and then we’ll come back and unpack it and try to relate it to Baptism. Paul says this:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Beautiful, powerful passage here...so much to say about it. Let’s just walk through it step by step. The first point is about Baptism. I love that St. Paul begins here by saying:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)

And I can imagine some of the readers saying, “Well, no, I actually didn’t realize that.” Or at least, I know for a fact that today many people might be unaware that Baptism was principally about being immersed—that’s what baptizō means—being plunged into the death of Christ.

Why do I say that a lot of people might be surprised by that language? Well, in our own day and time, the Sacrament of Baptism gets described in all kinds of ways. So, I’ve been to many baptisms. Sometimes Baptism is described as a sacrament that removes original sin. That, of course, is the case. In that case, it’ll be like a sacrament of forgiveness, sacrament of cleansing.

In other cases, Baptism is described as the sacrament that incorporates us into the Body of Christ, and that, of course, is true as well. There the sacrament becomes one of communion, of joining us to Jesus and as members of His Mystical Body. Other times, I’ve heard the Sacrament of Baptism described as one in which the Holy Spirit comes down to dwell in the soul of the Baptized person. In that case, it’s a sacrament of indwelling, and that is true as well. That the gift of the Holy Spirit—the indwelling power of the Trinity, in fact—coming to dwell in the soul of the baptized is one of the graces, one of the beautiful mysteries of the sacrament.

Very rarely, however, have I been to a Baptism where the Baptism was described as crucifixion, as a co-crucifixion with Christ, where the emphasis was put on the fact that your baby (often the infant Baptism) or this person is being baptized into the death of Jesus. But that’s how Paul sees Baptism. He’s highlighting the mystery of Baptism as what we might call the sacrament of crucifixion and resurrection.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death...

So pause there. When Paul’s thinking of Baptism, he’s obviously thinking of the imagery of what the Greek word connotes, which is immersion into water. But here Paul says that in Baptism, we’re actually being buried with Christ. So it’s not just the mystery of the cross, it’s also the mystery of His tomb. That in a sense, just as Christ’s body was buried in the tomb, so too we are buried in the waters of Baptism. We are immersed into the death of Jesus:

...so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

So Paul thinks of Baptism, first and foremost, as a sacrament of crucifixion and resurrection, where we are (in a sense) being co-crucified with Christ and then co-resurrected with Christ. That’s redundant to say co/with, but you get my point. I think one of the reasons this is often lost in contemporary Catholic catechesis on Baptism is in part just because of the way the rite works. Because in most contemporary contexts, we don’t actually bury a person into the water. We don’t practice immersion. It’s not the customary form of Baptism in the Roman rite, in the Latin rite. Normally, we’ll either have sprinkling in the form of infant Baptism or with pouring like with an adult Baptism, where the water will be poured over their head.

But when Paul is describing Baptism, he’s thinking here, for example, about the Baptism of St. John the Baptist, where people would immerse themselves in the water of the Jordan and then come up out of the water—so that the symbolism of death and resurrection is much more apparent.

For full access subscribe here >

 



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