And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor 15:17-19)
We echo Paul, especially this week and particularly on this day. And yet, we might also add: If only in the next life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. Holy Week and Easter Sunday especially burden us with the question of how the Resurrection is manifest in this world and not just in the world to come. Jesus is also recorded as saying that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). How is Christ revealed as Life?
From Simone Weil:
The Gospel contains a conception of human life, not a theology. If I light an electric torch at night out of doors I don’t judge its power by looking at the bulb, but by seeing how many objects it lights up. The brightness of a source of light is appreciated by the illumination it projects upon non-luminous objects. The value of a religious, or, more generally, a spiritual way of life is appreciated by the amount of illumination thrown upon the things of this world. Earthly things are the criterion of spiritual things (The Just Balance, 199).
Christ is revealed as Life and Light only as he illuminates the living. Yes, the power of the resurrection will ensure that physical death is not the end of the body. Yet in an important sense we are the ones who must make Christ live again on this earth. He lives as we enact his life in our lives, bringing comfort to the weary, doing justice in the midst of injustice, healing and being with the sick and afflicted, providing food for the hungry, speaking out against oppression, sitting with others in mourning and suffering. Where these things are not, he has been put to death again, and we, claiming to know him and his mission yet not doing these things that help the world to live, are his executioners. Where his work lives in us he has risen again and again to bless the world. The resurrection is not just an event, but a work that we enact as disciples of the Risen Lord. So let us not forget what we will one day be resurrected for: to continue his work, as families; to go on eternally as his disciples; to fill the universe with the transformative power of his love; to bring light and make life where before there was only death.
He is risen. But we must make him live again.