11 Exsultet! Rejoice! - Leon Bent

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:15 AM ]
Matthew tells us that an angel from heaven came down in plain view of the soldiers who were guarding the sealed tomb. The soldiers watched in shock, as the angel rolled away the stone from the tomb and sat on it.

If we were there, we would have expected to see Jesus walk out into the morning light. There was just one problem. The tomb was already empty. Just as He could not be hindered from entering a locked room, He could not be contained by the sealed tomb.

The stone was not rolled away so that Jesus could escape. It was rolled away so that you would know that the tomb was empty. With His Resurrection, Christ no longer lived with the limitations of His human body. Death and the restrictions of our flesh were conquered that Easter morning. As Paul said, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:15)

The angel of God opened an empty tomb for all to see. Jesus now moved about with the grace and power of a body not subject to the barriers and boundaries of earth. Jesus fulfilled the gospel promise made to Eve so long ago. The curse was broken. (Gen 3:14b)

One day, you and I will have a body like the one that left the sealed tomb. This is part of what Easter means. Death, sickness and physical limitations will be no more. Just as our spirit has been freed from the ravages of sin, so too will our bodies.

This is what Easter means. It is not a mystical event or an elevation of consciousness. Easter transforms us totally; renewed, rejuvenated, twice-born in spirit and in body. Good Friday has vanished into thin air! Bodily suffering is now momentary! The joy of our glorified bodies awaits us for all time to come!

The empty tomb let out glorious hurrahs of the exuberant, resurrected Jesus and the ecstatic delight of Mary Magdalene! The stone that was rolled away offers us great joy and brings hope of eternity with Christ!

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI notes: "I live, and you will live also," says Jesus in Saint John's Gospel (14:19) to His disciples, that is, to us. We will live through our existential communion with Him, through being taken up into Him who is life itself. Eternal life, blessed immortality, we have not by ourselves or in ourselves, but through a relation—through existential communion with Him who is Truth and Love, and is therefore eternal: God Himself. Simple indestructibility of the soul by itself could not give meaning to eternal life; it could not make it a true life. Life comes to us from being loved by Him who is Life; it comes to us from living with, and loving with, Him. Galatians 2:20 says, "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me." This is the way of the Cross, the way that "crosses over" a life simply closed in on the "I", thereby opening up the road towards true and lasting joy.