Bulletin -April 2017

April 2017
“So the faith was planted: so must it be restored”
Eight Pond Place – Oyster Bay, NY 11771

Christ Truly Rose from the Dead
Taken from a sermon by The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
Copyright © 2003 The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly

…..At noon on Good Friday, Our Lord was nailed to the Cross. Three hours later at 3:00 in the afternoon, He spoke His last words from the Cross: “It is consummated” and “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” He then bowed His head and died. At 3p.m., the moment of Our Lord’s death upon the Cross, the slaughter of the Paschal lambs began in the Temple.

…..The angels who adored Him as He hung on the Cross trembled at the sight of the death of the Son of God. The Roman centurion said: “Truly this was the Son of God.” The people who were present, “when they saw the things that happened, beat their breasts” as they returned to the city. Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus that it might be buried. Pilate made sure that Christ was dead and then gave permission for the body to be taken for burial. Joseph and Nicodemus took the body down and placed it in the arms of His mother.

…..There was a perfect likeness between the Mother and the Son. She exhibited all the virtues of her Jesus. Her fortitude was sublime. Her constancy perfect. Her self-control was divine – this Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs. She knelt at the foot of the Cross to receive His body into her arms.  She held Him in her warm embrace and pressed Him to herself. She cradled Him at death as she had cradled Him at birth. She was the first to embrace Him and the last. It was fitting that infinite holiness should be held in the arms of immaculate purity.  But there was not much time, so they took the body of Jesus from the arms of His mother and carried it to the tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea.

…..The news of the death of Christ having reached the ears of the chief priests, they went to Pilate to ask that he set a guard at the tomb. They told Pilate that the “Imposter” had said He would rise from the dead. They were concerned that His disciples would steal the body and then say that He rose from the dead. The tomb was sealed and the guards were put in place. The seal was placed in the groove of the great stone. Any attempt to move the stone would break the seal.

…..There was little time to properly prepare the body of Christ according to the custom of the Jews, so the women planned to return Sunday morning. It is said that the women had made arrangements with Joseph of Arimathea to have the stone moved when they returned on the first day of the week, but that Joseph was arrested because of his open support of Christ. This would explain why the women asked: “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” (Mark 16:3) They did not know when they asked the question that  “an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men.” (Matthew 28:2-4) The women discovered it when they arrived at the tomb. There “they saw the stone rolled back. . . . And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man [an angel] sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified: He is risen, He is not here, behold the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him, as He told you.” (Mark 16:4-7)

…..In the garden where the tomb was located, Joseph of Arimathea owned a house which served as a kind of little retreat for him. The grounds there were sacred as they were close to Golgotha where it is believed Adam was buried. It is said that the Blessed Virgin spent the night in Joseph’s house, and there, on the morning of the Resurrection, Our Lord first appeared to her. This was held to be true from the earliest times. St. Ambrose wrote of it in the year 380. This was also revealed by Our Lord to St. Teresa of Avila in the sixteenth century.

…..Afterwards Our Lord appeared on many occasions. He appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the holy women, and to St. Peter. He appeared to Cleophas and another man on the road to Emmaus. He appeared to the Apostles on one occasion when Thomas was not with them. He again appeared to the Apostles when Thomas was with them. On another occasion He appeared to seven disciples at Lake Tiberias. He appeared to 500 men and women on Mount Tabor. He appeared to James the Less, and then to all the Apostles on Ascension Day.

…..Christ did indeed actually, truly, and physically rise from the dead, and when He rose He “retained His own true body.” [Paul J. Glenn, A Tour of the Summa (Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1978), p. 359.] If He did not rise with “a true body,” or if He rose with a different body other than “the body in which” He “suffered, the Resurrection would not have been real but only apparent.” (Ibid.) The only difference between the body of Christ before and after the Resurrection was that “the body of Christ was glorified in its rising.” (Ibid.)

…..Thus, at the end of the world, we shall also rise with our own true bodies. If we die in the state of grace, we shall rise “in bodily glory.” It will be a glory like, but obviously not equal to, the glory of the resurrected body of Christ. His body possesses a much greater glory than the risen bodies the saints will have. He merited this glory by His Passion and Death. When He was on earth, He hid His glory from men, and He now hides it in the Blessed Sacrament. But “the glory of the beatific vision [was His] from the first moment of His existence as man.” However, it was not manifested outwardly except on Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration. This glory was thus “prevented from overflowing into the body of Christ until after He had endured the Passion and Death for our salvation. But once that work for us was done, the glory of His soul inundated His body.” (Ibid., pp. 359-360.) Even though it was and is a glorious resurrected body, it is still a body of “flesh, blood, bones, and all the other constituents of a human body . . . . It was a complete and perfect body.” (Ibid. p. 360.) Thus, when Our Lord appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection and they thought they saw an apparition or a phantom, He said: “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have.” (Luke 24:39)

…..The glorious Resurrection of Christ shows the victory of divine justice and the exaltation of the humble. It instructs us and establishes us in the true faith because Our Lord’s Resurrection “is the central truth of our faith.” (Glenn, op. cit., p. 359.) It also gives us hope and consolation as we make our way through this valley of tears and look forward to the final victory of goodness and our own eternal happiness. The Resurrection teaches us not to grow weary in doing good and in living a life of sanctifying grace through the regular reception of the sacraments. It teaches us to rise from sin which is spiritual death to a life of grace.

…..When the Jews celebrated the Passover, they took their old bread and leaven and threw them away. They ate only unleavened bread with the Paschal lamb. Throwing out the old leaven was symbolic of throwing out sin. It was not right to eat the lamb while still clinging to sin. It is a kind of figure for our reception of Holy Communion. We must be in the state of grace, having confessed our sins, that is, having thrown out the old leaven as St. Paul says in the Epistle for Easter Sunday. He says that when the Paschal lamb was sacrificed and eaten, the Hebrews got rid of the old leaven. Now, our Paschal Lamb, the true Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, has been sacrificed. Therefore, we are to rid ourselves of the leaven of immorality and sin. Get rid of the old leaven, St. Paul says, get rid of the “leaven of malice and wickedness” and feast rather on “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:8)

…..Our Lord has risen from the dead, and He is coming to judge the living and the dead. On that day we shall all rise. Those who died in the state of mortal sin shall rise in ignominy. Those who died in the state of grace shall rise like Christ in glory. Thus, on Easter Sunday as we celebrate the glorious victory of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ over death and sin, we say, in the words of Job: “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth. And I shall be clothed again in my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God.” (Job 19:25-26) Therefore, St. Paul tells us to purge sin from our lives and to seek our happiness and consolation in what is good and holy and not to live like pagans who live only for this world, “for Christ our Pasch is sacrificed.” (1 Cor. 5:7)

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