Archbishop’s Easter Message

“The Resurrection of Christ,” from the right wing of the Isenheim Altarpiece, by Mattias Grunewald. (CNS Photo, Bridgeman Images)

May this Easter be a time of deepened faith and of great joy! Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!

Last year during his Easter Sunday homily, Pope Francis told the world that the Resurrection of Jesus, which forms the center of our Easter celebration, is not a fantasy. Rather he calls it the cornerstone of our faith. He said, “It is the mystery of the throw-away stone that ends up being the cornerstone of our existence.”

Let me explain what a cornerstone is. At times called the foundation or the setting stone, the cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a stone building. Important because all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, the cornerstone determines the position of the entire structure. If the builder positions the first cornerstone incorrectly, the entire structure is faulty.

Some are tempted to build their lives around other stones, making possessions, power or popularity their cornerstones. These stones, however, throw the entire building off balance. Thus, Pope Francis identifies the Resurrection of Jesus as the cornerstone of existence. If this deep truth forms your conviction about life, your whole building … your existence … will be well aligned.

Why is Jesus’ resurrection so central? Because the truth is … we hate to think about death. We deny the fleeting nature of this world. We pretend that we will never die, and so we build our lives on a false foundation, an approach that is doomed to failure.

What’s more, Jesus warns us about deaths that are just as bad and even worse. Recall the death of the soul that comes from sin. In his play, “Julius Caesar,” the great English writer William Shakespeare placed these words in Caesar’s mouth, “A coward dies a thousand times before his death.”

Cowardice is not the only “death” that twists our lives and robs us of a full life. Death comes in other forms: drugs that numb our lives and make us poor imitations of the dignity God intended for us; money, power and lust can do the same. The lesson is clear: Sin brings death, and we need to build our lives on a life-giving reality.

Thus, the Lord Jesus risen from the dead, conquering sin and death, is our cornerstone. The risen Jesus makes our lives aligned with the dignity meant for us for eternity.

The risen Jesus is not a fantasy, not a ghost and not even a return of his former self. He is the one who now lives and will never die again … our Risen Savior.

Easter does not answer the question, “Did Jesus ever live on earth?” Christmas gives us that answer. Rather, Easter answers this question: does Jesus live today? He is our living cornerstone – the One who sets our lives in order.

We who live our Easter faith, we who live in Christ Jesus Risen – will claim a dignity that was always ours but now is elevated. With him we shall live forever … in joy!
A time honored Easter hymn, “Alleluia, the Strife is O’er” was likely written in the 12th century and set to music in the 16th. The third verse expresses well our attitude of faith and joy this Easter:

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
O risen Lord, all praise to thee,
Who from our sin
has set us free,
That we may live eternally:

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One reply on “Archbishop’s Easter Message”
  1. says: Cissie Willets

    Archbishop Kurtz always “delivers!”
    Beautifully understandable & succinct joyous Easter message to us & for us.

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