by Tom Cordaro
If we have died in Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. (Rom 6:8)
The readings for the Easter Vigil start with the creation story and the fall of humanity and follow the history of redemption through the exodus, culminating in the resurrection of Jesus. During the Easter Vigil, new members are also sacramentally initiated into the Catholic Church. The reading from Romans makes the connection between baptism, death, and resurrection: those baptized in Christ are baptized into his death—not just any kind of death, but death on a cross. The cross represents life freely offered for the sake of others. It is the laying down of all power, privilege, and entitlements out of love for others—even the enemy.
For the newly baptized and for those renewing their baptismal vows, the “old self was crucified with him . . . that we might no longer be in slavery to sin” (Romans 6:6). The way of the gun has lost its appeal and power over us. We no longer believe that the gun can save us or make us powerful and respected.
Jesus’ death seems like folly to those who cling to their guns; he was a naïve do-gooder whose death proves the point, “If Jesus and his followers had guns, they might have escaped their fate.” But the resurrection turned the folly of the cross into victory for the disciples of Jesus: “If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him” (Romans 6:8-9).
- How has Christ freed you from the fear of death?
* This reflection appeared in Embracing Possibilities: Reflections for Lent 2014, published by Pax Christi USA.