Where, oh Death, is your victory?

Where, oh Death, is your victory?

THE LAST ELEMENT OF THE EASTER MYSTERY is the fact that Jesus is Risen. If in fact everything had ended with his death, we would have in Him, an example of supreme self-denial, but this would not be able to generate our faith. He was a hero! He died, but He is Risen because faith arises from the Resurrection. Accepting that Christ is dead and that He died crucified is not an act of faith. It is a historical fact. Believing he is Risen, on the other hand, is. Our faith begins on Easter morning.

On Easter morning, we can be like those people of whom the Gospel speaks: going to the Sepulcher of Christ, seeing the large overturned stone and thinking that God is preparing an unexpected future for them and for all of us; going to our sepulcher: we all have some of this inside us. To go there and see how God is capable of rising again from there. Here, there is happiness; there is joy and life, where everyone thought there was only sadness, defeat and darkness. God makes His most beautiful flowers grow in the midst of the most arid of stones.

To be Christian means not starting from death, but rather, from God’s love for us which has defeated our most bitter enemy. God is greater than nothingness, and a lit candle is enough to overcome the darkest of nights. Echoing the prophets, Paul cries, “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Cor 15: 55). We carry this cry in our heart in these days of Easter. And if they should ask the reason for the smile we give and our patient readiness to share, then we will be able to answer that Jesus is still here, that he continues to be alive among us, that Jesus is here, in the Square, with us: Alive and Risen.

Pope Francis, General Audience, April 19, 2017.