August 21, 2019

He Has Been Raised

He is not here but He has been raised!

This, my friends is the fact that has turned the world upside down. For anyone who dares to believe this incredible news of victory over sin, despair, darkness and death, the only reasonable choice is to adjust his/her life accordingly.

The Resurrection of Jesus is a fact.  

If it were a fabrication of some second-class disciples of a hillbilly from Nazareth, they would have planned their lie in the best way to make it credible. Whenever two or three are bent on lying, they get together and cover all bases, they go over all details so that their testimony may agree and withstand a close scrutiny.

None of that happened in this case: the accounts of the Resurrection are quite different in the 4 gospels and the star witnesses are not men but women. The Jewish law was quite clear: women could not be reliable witnesses, their testimony was not valid.

The Resurrection of Jesus is a fact. 

There is no other way of explaining why throngs of people chose to die as martyrs rather than renounce their faith in the Risen Christ. This fact that turned the world upside down is the reason why Paul is bewildered. He gets hot around the collar, so to speak, and asks with indignation:

Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?[…] so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.

The fact is here for all of us to believe, to check out, to live by. The fact of the Resurrection has changed countless lives, yet we might still be stuck in our spiritual rut made of lukewarmness, of hesitations, of setbacks, of meager progress, maybe of a prolonged paralysis and little movement forward.

Last Thursday, I visited our beautiful, Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit. In imitation of the old Roman Basilicas, it has a breathtaking Baptismal font that illustrates very graphically the reality of Baptism that Paul talks about on this the most blessed of all nights. As in ancient times, there are steps going down into the waters. There is an ample flat space to be totally immersed in the waters and then there are steps leading up the opposite way.

Let us be frank with ourselves, brutally frank for our own sake, tonight. It is a question of life and death. How many times have we renewed our baptismal promises? How convinced have we been thus far of the impelling necessity of starting a new life? It seems that we are stuck under the water. We go down many times into the waters, we stay there, buried under water, but then we come back up the way we went down.

My friends in Christ, what does Jesus have to do to convince us to rise, to climb up out of the water, the opposite way? Let us single out tonight the sin or sins that we are stuck in, those sins that we “love,” that we, in spite of all our claims to the contrary, are unwilling to get rid of or that embarrass us.

If the Spirit of Jesus did the impossible; if we have gone down into our burial place with him, we can, we shall rise to newness of life.            

We shall never, never revert to our old ways.

The Lord is truly risen.  

Consequently, we too must think of ourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. AMEN

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Written by
Fr Dino Vanin

REVEREND DINO VANIN, PIME was born in Cendon di Silea, Province of Treviso, Italy in 1946. He entered the PIME Seminary at Treviso at the tender age of eleven. He came to the U.S. in 1968, studying Theology at Darlington Major Seminary in New Jersey. He has an MA in Secondary School Administration from Seton Hall University. Ordained in 1972, he served as an administrator, teacher, rector and principal at the PIME High School Seminary in Newark, Ohio before being sent to the missions of Thailand, where he served for six years. He is currently the Treasurer of the U.S. Region of PIME in Detroit. On December 16, 2018 he was installed as Pastor of San Francesco Catholic Church in Clinton Township, MI. Every week he takes some time off from his parish ministry to do some administrative work at PIME headquarters in Detroit. Due to his increased workload at the parish while continuing as Treasurer of the U. S. Region of PIME and as counselor and spiritual director, he spends any time left doing a little woodworking.

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Written by Fr Dino Vanin
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