Yesterday, Christians around the world joyfully celebrated Easter— the highest and holiest feast of the liturgical year. We celebrated Christ’s triumph over death, sin, and hell through his glorious resurrection. It was a happy day, indeed!
But Easter isn’t just an important liturgical feast, it is a reality to be lived. Today, I want to examine how living in the light of the resurrected Christ can transform our lives.
Immersion into Christ
Have you been baptized? If so, you are a partaker in the resurrected life of Christ, and you are a son of the most high God. St. Paul tells us, “In our baptism, we have been buried with him, died like him, that so, just as Christ was raised up by his Father’s power from the dead, we too might live and move in a new kind of existence.”1
In other words, through your baptism, your were mystically immersed into in the very death and resurrection of Christ. Your baptism has made you so one with Jesus that His Easter triumph is your triumph—His new life is your new life.
The Slavery of Sin
But despite the wonderful reality of our new life in Christ, given to us in baptism, we often live controlled by our disordered passions. Rather than living in the freedom of the children of God, we live in bondage to sin.
Simply, we love sin too much. We think its pitiful pleasure will bring us more joy than God can— but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, sin is nothing but a degrading slavery. When the Jewish people were captive in Egypt, they worked long hours for hardly any pay. They broke their bodies building monuments for Pharaoh, and in return they were lucky to get a crust of bread.
Sin is similar. It destroys us, soul and body, for a moment’s gratification. It mars and twists the beautiful image of God in us. And eventually, as a reward for our dedicated service, “sin offers death, for wages.”2
Live in Freedom
As baptized Catholics, we must never live in this bondage to sin, for if we do, we will forfeit our inheritance as God’s children. Instead, we should live the reality of Easter, which is the reality of Christ’s new life given to us in baptism. How can we do this? Again, St. Paul explains:
“We have to be closely fitted into the pattern of his resurrection, as we have been in the pattern of his death; we have to be sure of this, that our former nature has been crucified with him, and the living power of our guilt annihilated, so that we are the slaves of guilt no longer….
Just as you once made over your natural powers as slaves to impurity and wickedness, till all was wickedness, you must now make over your natural powers as slaves to right-doing, till all is sanctified.”3
St. Paul is telling us that we must imitate Christ in both his death and new life—in his death by crucifying and burying our sinful ways, and in his life by reorienting our entire existence toward God. Through our actions, we must serve the law of love, which leads to eternal life, rather than the law of sin, which leads to eternal death.
Practically speaking, do you see an area in your life where you are still in bondage to sin? Are you betraying your dignity as a son of God? If so, crucify that sin with all your might through confession, prayer, and penance. Bury it once and for all, and begin to walk in freedom and righteousness. St. Paul assures you that, if you do this, “sin will not be able to play the master over you any longer.”4
In the resurrection, Christ freed us from the terrible reign of sin and death, just as God freed the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt, leading them through the waters to safety. Through the waters of baptism, prefigured by the waters of the Red Sea, we participate in the triumphant life of Christ.
Let us then shake off the slavery of the devil. Let’s reject it with our whole hearts, just as we did in our baptismal vows. By the abundant grace of God, let’s conquer ourselves and our sinful inclinations, crucifying them with Christ and burying them forever. Then, let’s begin to walk in the new life Christ won for us in his triumphant resurrection, embracing the reality of Easter that makes us joyfully alive to God.
1 Romans 6:4
2 Romans 6:23
3 Romans 6:5-6; 13
4 Romans 6:14