I take the reading today not from what is technically an Easter Day reading, but from the Catholic Church’s liturgy for the Easter Vigil held on Saturday night. It seems to me to be the most concise summary of how believers should understand the events of Easter and take a commission from it.

The reading is Romans 6:3-11. For once, I will print the whole thing, using the King James version, for the sheer delight of the old language:

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

Here, then, is the commission, or simply the mission, to which (according to Paul) Christ has called us: Leave our present needs and weaknesses behind, and be alive, as innocents, to God’s will and God’s way….

All of which, though, is more easily said than done. Even when we wish to know God’s will and be guided in His way, we so often are unsure of what His will and way actually are. Often, we think we are following it, but are mistaken.

We are like Mary Magdalene, who, when she first sees the risen Christ, does not even recognize that it was He (John 20:14).

Again, though, look back to Paul’s sentence closing the reading above. Our inabilities are recognized. We are called, as the newly resurrected, to be alive to God. He knows how to work His will and guide us on His way, as long as we are not dead to Him. It is not for us to know for certain exactly what to do, but rather for us to be alive to God so that He can work His will through us.

Cast off sin. Accept the redemption through Christ’s resurrection. Be fully alive to Him. Really alive. He will do the rest.

Happy Easter.

 

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