THEME: CHRIST’S RESURRECTION: THE KEY TO OUR FAITH
READINGS: Acts 10:34, 37-43/ Col. 3:1-4/ John 20:1-9
All humans succumb to death. Only God has absolute power over death. Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus Christ revealed that He was not only human but divine as well. That is, His resurrection is the key which opens our understanding to Who He truly is as well as His mission of salvation.
KEYS AS SIGN OF AUTHORITY
Keys are tools for opening doors or gaining access to certain things. Whoever, therefore, legitimately has the key to something has authority to use it. Hence, keys signify authority. Thus, Jesus’ authority over death and hell is expressed as having their keys: “I am the first and the last. I am the Living One; I was dead and now I am alive for ever and ever! And I have the keys of death and hell” (Rev. 1:17-18)!
Yes, Jesus has the keys of death and hell, because by His resurrection, He has conquered death and opened the gates of hell to release the holy ones (cf. 1 Peter 3:18-19; Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 633). Simply put: Jesus has power over death and hell.
THE RESURRECTION AS POWERFUL KEY
When Mary Magdalene and her companions were going to the tomb early that first Easter morning (cf. Matt. 28:1; John 20:1), they wondered who would remove the huge stone from the entrance of the tomb (cf. Mark 16:3). Happily, they would soon realize that the resurrection itself was the powerful key that opened the entrance of the tomb; for it had caused an earthquake and pushed the stone away by its divine energy (cf. Matt. 28:2). As literally nothing can withstand the power of an earthquake, so may the earthquake-power of Jesus’ resurrection destroy all obstacles to our salvation and progress!
Furthermore, in the Ghanaian parlance, an earthquake is “power pass power”. That is, it surpasses other physical powers. For instance, in the 2011 earthquake which took place in Japan, a nuclear power plant was destroyed. Similarly, the resurrection power surpasses all other spiritual powers! May the resurrection power destroy and silence every spiritual power that attacks us!
While the grace of God releases the resurrection power, prayer is like a cable wire that connects us to it. For instance, when Paul and Silas were once imprisoned and chained in Philippi, they prayed, and the power of the resurrection caused an earthquake which broke their chains away and opened the prison gates for them (cf. Acts 16:25-28). Similarly, by the grace of God, when we pray, we may be connected to the liberative power of the resurrection!
RESURRECTION AS MASTER KEY
The resurrection of Jesus is not only a powerful key, it is also the master key. This is because it is the key of our Master, and it can open and close every door or gate. If the master key of the resurrection has opened the gates of death and hell to release holy souls, as well as opened the gates of heaven for the saints to enter, what gate or door can’t it open? Firstly, therefore, I pray that we would be among the saints to whom, the gates of heaven have been opened! Amen! Secondly, may the master key of the resurrection open every door which has been closed to us: the door of peace, the door of job, the door of healing, the door of marriage, etc. Amen!
KEY TO OUR FAITH
Let us now consider the second part of the theme: “key to our faith”. According to St. Paul, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is also empty. …but the truth is that Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of all those who die” (1 Cor. 15:12-20).
Thus, when the suffering, crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ had thrown His apostles into a state of utter confusion and despair, His resurrection became the key which opened their faith-understanding. It was the key which made the apostles look back on the life, words and the great works of Jesus to understand who He truly is and the mission which His Father had entrusted to Him. For instance, when Mary Magdalene experienced the risen Lord (cf. John 20:16-18) her confusion and grief over His crucifixion and the empty tomb faded away (cf. John 20:1-2, 11-15). Also, the faith and person of St. Peter, who had denied Jesus, would be so transformed by the resurrection such that subsequently he would fearlessly and tirelessly preach about Him (cf. Acts 10:34, 37-43). Again, St. Thomas who initially doubted that Jesus had arisen would exclaim: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:18). That is, the key of the resurrection opened his faith to the divine nature of Jesus: “my God”.
In conclusion, I pray that the powerful and master key of the resurrection may open our spiritual understanding to what God had done for us in Jesus! Amen! May this key open our understanding to appreciate God’s gracious plans for our lives! Amen! May our understanding of the fact that the resurrection has made us citizens of heaven (cf. Phil. 3:20), begin to change how we live here on earth, fully aware of our lasting home (cf. Col. 3:1-4)! Amen! Finally, may we eventually enjoy the eternal glory of heaven! Amen!
By Msgr. John Kobina Louis