How does the resurrection of Jesus make a difference for us? You might think that the answer is obvious but not for all. Some will say, “So what? Even if Jesus was raised from the dead, what has that got to do with you and me.”
Salvation is probably not a word very much talked about nowadays. Do we really need salvation? After all, most of our problems can be solved by a visit to the doctor, the bank manager, a therapist or lawyer. We may need to be saved from our own foolishness, but that is as far as any idea of personal salvation goes, as our society has little concept of sin. Many of us feel that our future is in our own hands; we can become anything we want to be. This applies not just to career or personal relationships but now even also to sexuality and gender.
In the time of Jesus the term salvation encompassed many things. Although a pagan, Cornelius glimpsed the true God in the God of the Jews. Their God cared for His people and Cornelius prayed to their God and gave alms to the Jews. He was rewarded with a visit from an angel and the message that his prayers and alms had been accepted. He was also told to seek out Peter. By means of a vision Peter learns that God’s salvation is available to Cornelius and other non-Jews and that the laws relating to diet and ritual cleanliness do not prevent them from becoming followers of Jesus, and that through faith in Him, they too are able to have their sins forgiven. The Holy Spirit came down Cornelius and his family, and they were baptized.
Sin is another word for being separated from God; and this gulf between God and His creatures was overcome by Christ’s death and resurrection. That is why Saint Paul can say we should seek out our salvation; because God wants us to live in harmony with Him. The sad thing is that being reconciled with God is not always in our minds as we celebrate Easter Day.
Many people are so far from God that they fail to God’s presence in the ordinary matters of life. Just think for a moment what our world would be like if people were open to God’s presence and were seeking out their salvation through the way they lived out their daily lives. The resurrection is meant to make a difference now and not just in the world to come.
Mary Magdalene brought the news of the empty tomb to Peter and John. Going to the grave they saw the burial clothes of Jesus but not much else. Nevertheless, these traces of the Lord were enough for them to see and believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Cornelius sought out heavenly things in the world around him and found salvation for his family in Jesus through the ministry of Peter. As baptized Christians, we should be able to see the presence of God in our daily lives. The resurrection of Jesus should matter to every single one of us, just as it did to Cornelius, Peter and the other apostles. Like them, we can believe that if we live and die with Christ in this life, then we will experience the gift of salvation for all eternity.
A blessed and happy Easter to all of you and your loved ones!