During the Triduum, we contemplate the greatest manifestation of divine activity in human history: the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter Sunday is the culmination of the Triduum, so we should not be surprised that the opening prayer is a summery of the Triduum events.
O God, who on this day,
through your Only Begotten Son,
have conquered death
and unlocked for us the path to eternity,
grant, we pray, that we who keep
the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection
may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit,
rise up in the light of life.
Christ opens eternity for us. That certainly is an offer of eternity, but is also a restoration. Ecclesiastes (3:11) writes, “He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind.” Created in the image of God, we live our lives with an intuition of eternity. Our sins suppress that intuition and we are reduced to focusing on the day to day struggles of life. Jesus Christ came into the world to make the sacrifice by which we are offered forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. This is the meaning of the cross, to return to a relationship with God that opens our hearts to eternity and love.
Christ died on the cross for our salvation but rose from the dead. That certainly contains the promise that we too will rise at the final judgement, but what about the here and now? Eternity can seem a dark foreboding reality. Even as faithful Christians, we don’t necessarily look forward to living as we do now for age upon age. Our opening prayer assures us that “by keeping the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection” we have access to the renewal of the Holy Spirit. The key here is Christ’s Resurrection, the empty tomb, the gospel for Easter Sunday. By the Resurrection of Christ and our gratitude for that profound event, the Spirit is here to lead us.
Our opening prayer tells us that the gift of the Resurrection by which we receive the renewal of the Holy Spirit is to rise up in light. Jesus Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12). However, light doesn’t help much if we don’t look around. In the difficulty of life, the Resurrection of Christ should be a beacon for us. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16). Christ has given us light and the Holy Spirit has given us vision. We need to use our vision in the light of Christ to find Him. His Resurrection means he is here with us now. We know where to find Him: in the community of the Church and in the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Our encounter with Christ at Mass is the strongest encounter we have with His eternity in this life.
The message of the Resurrection is hope. Hope for eternal life with God, but an eternal life that’s starts now when we take Christ and His teaching seriously. Christ wants to open up the eternity He has hidden in our hearts. Christ is in eternity. We are called to share that eternity with Him, not only after we die, but here and now.