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Alleluia, Christ Is Risen!

“Christ is risen” – this is the Eastern Christians’ greeting that will sound on the Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection and throughout the Easter Season. The person greeted in this way responds by saying, “Truly He is risen!” This greeting is a beautiful expression of the person’s and the Church’s faith – it is a deep and joyful exchange of the truth of the Lord’s resurrection.

The word “truly” used in this greeting has an enormous significance. It is the Christian profession that the life and the resurrection of Jesus is not a myth, a fairy tale, a product of someone’s invention or a dream. We Catholics believe that Jesus truly rose from the dead. Moreover, we believe that without the light of the risen Christ, there is darkness, a sort of nothingness. Through His resurrection, Christ wants to change our lives. St. Ignatius of Antioch, a Christian martyr from the early second century, wrote about the truthfulness of Christ in such a way: “Truly He was born, He ate and drank. Truly He was persecuted under Pontius Pilate. Truly He was crucified and died, as seen by those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. He was also truly raised from the dead”. St. Ignatius gave his life for Christ and Christians only because he authentically believed that Jesus was truly the Christ and that everything what the Christ has said is true. It would not be understandable why St. Ignatius and many other Christians would risk or give their lives for some kind of fairy tale, even the most appealing and beautiful. The real beauty and power of the Christ lies exactly on His truthfulness.

During the Mass, many times we say “Amen” together as our response to the prayer invoked by the celebrant. St. Augustine, a famous saint from the fifth century, said that the whole activity in heaven will be a continuous Amen and Alleluia. He explains that Amen means “It is true” and Alleluia means “Praise God”. In heaven, there will be no doubt in regard to the truthfulness of God as we will see God face to face. But there is no need to be in heaven to repeat this Amen and Alleluia as a profound praise of God. We can do it now, on earth, even without experiencing God’s full glory as it will be in heaven, with only a partial (although certain) understanding of His reality. So, do not hesitate to repeat during Easter time: “Christ is risen!” – “Truly He is risen!” Amen, Alleluia!

Brothers and Sisters,

May the Resurrected Christ increase your faith, strengthen your hope, and inspire you to authentically love your family, friends, and others. May He allow you to understand and experience His presence in your life.

Christ is risen!  Happy Easter!

Fr. Mark Jurzyk