Christ’s presence in Christians
"Christ is alive." This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness. “Do not be terrified” was how the angels greeted the women who came to the tomb. “Do not be terrified. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here” (Mk 16:6 gospel of Easter Sunday Mass). “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 117:24 ; gradual of the Mass: Haec est dies quam fecit Nininus, exultemus et laetemur in ea).
Easter is a time of joy - a joy not confined to this period of the liturgical year, for it should always be present in the Christian's heart. For Christ is alive. He is not someone who has gone, someone who existed for a time and then passed on, leaving us a wonderful example and a great memory. No, Christ is alive. Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: “Can a woman forget her baby that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Is 49:14-15). And he has kept his promise. His delight is still to be with the sons of men (cfr. Prov 8:31).
Christ is alive in his Church. “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (Jn 16:7). That was what God planned: Jesus, dying on the cross, gave us the Spirit of truth and life. Christ stays in his Church, its sacraments, its liturgy, its preaching-in all that it does.
In a special way Christ stays with us in the daily offering of the holy Eucharist. That is why the Mass is the center and source of Christian life. In each and every Mass the complete Christ, head and body, is present. Per Ipsum et cum Ipso et in Ipso. For Christ is the way; he is the mediator; in him we find everything. Outside of him our life is empty. In Jesus Christ, and taught by him, “we dare to say: Our Father.” We dare to call the Lord of heaven and earth our Father. The presence of the living Christ in the host is the guarantee, the source and the culmination of his presence in the world.
Christ is alive in Christians. Our faith teaches us that man, in the state of grace, is divinized-filled with God. We are men and women, not angels. We are flesh and blood, people with sentiments and passions, with sorrows and joys. And this divinization affects everything human; it is a sort of foretaste of the final resurrection. “Christ has risen from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also comes resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made to live” (1 Cor 15:20-22).
Christ's life is our life, just as he promised his Apostles at the last supper: “If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”( Jn 14:23). That is why a Christian should live as Christ lived, making the affections of Christ his own, so that he can exclaim with St Paul: “It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20; Non vivo ego, vivit vero in me Christus)."
(Blessed Josemaria Escriva, Christ is Passing By nn. 102-103)
Blessed Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, opened a new path of holiness in the Catholic Church, teaching that men and women can achieve holiness by performing their work and daily duties with a Christian spirit. Josemaria Escriva was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January 9, 1902. Ordained in 1925, he began his ministry in a rural parish, and afterward in Saragossa. In 1927 Fr. Josemaria moved to Madrid to obtain his doctorate in law. There, on October 2, 1928, during a retreat, he saw what it was that God was asking of him: he founded Opus Dei. From that time on he began to work on the development of Opus Dei while he continued his priestly ministry, particularly to the poor and sick. In 1946 Blessed Josemaria took up residence in Rome. There he obtained a doctorate in Theology from the Lateran University. Blessed Josemaria Escriva died in Rome on June 26, 1975. When he rendered up his soul to God, Opus Dei had spread to five continents, with over 60,000 members of 80 nationalities. Thousands of people, including a third of the bishops from around the world, requested that the Holy See open his cause of beatification and canonization. After an exhaustive examination of Msgr Escriva's life and work - a process lasting nearly 10 years - the Pope beatified him on May 17, 1992, in St. Peter's Square.
God our Father, you chose Blessed Josemaria to proclaim the universal call to sanctity and apostolate in the Church. By his example and prayers, grant that in faithfully carrying out our daily work in the Spirit of Christ, we may be formed in the likeness of your Son, and together with the most Blessed Virgin Mary, serve the work of redemption with an ardent love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department