The Tomb is Empty
“We preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23), says St. Paul. Therefore, salvation begins with Christ, and we sing at Easter, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” This is the gospel message—Jesus Christ rose from the dead—and by dying for the life of the world he filled the darkness of death itself with his life-giving light. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55) There is no place we humans can go where Christ is not present and where his light is not found. No, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Rom. 8:39). Jesus Christ is victorious over death by transforming death—something we all fear—into a means of salvation and life.
As Christ gave his life on the cross as an act of faith and trust in God his Father, and as an act of selfless love for his entire creation, so too, Christians are called to model Christ by living lives as offerings of love for one another, all the while with faith and trust in God. This way, our life may be in Christ, and our death may be in Christ. This is what it means to be a disciple of Christ—that we live in Christ—and therefore live the message of the gospel by doing the work that Christ would have us do in our daily lives, each in our own unique way, with love and gratitude. This is living and working faith—just as Jesus, himself, says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” (Mt. 16:24), and, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (Jn. 13:34)
Salvation begins and ends with Christ and Christ’s gospel. It is lived by Christ’s commandments, and is nurtured by a life in Christ — a life lived in his body, the Church, by which we not only live, learn, and observe Christ’s commandments, but trust that God is with us and will also return again, as Christ says, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:20) This is our peace—our faith, our hope, and our love.