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Truly, only by His Death and Resurrection did Christ defeat sin and death; and that saving work is made present now, in what we call a sacramental manner. Hidden under the appearance of bread and wine, Jesus Christ is bodily Present with us, offering His once-for-all Sacrifice to the Father, in the Spirit.
It pleases the Lord when we celebrate the day of His Resurrection. We are right to prepare for the day, so that Sunday - our Christian Sabbath - is as far as possible restful, refreshing and joyful, in the company of those close to us, and with sufficient time for prayer and praise at Mass.
The Lord asked me to paint a very large picture of the Last Judgement. He asked me to show the glory of Heaven as being like a blazing light at the top of the painting. I could include a stairway to Heaven, representing the only way there: the way made by Christ through His Death and Resurrection.
There is only one Way to Heaven, made by Christ, Who had come down from Heaven; so if we picture life on earth, we should picture Christ on the Cross, on Calvary - with a ladder nearby, which reaches as far as Heaven. Christ made that Way, by His suffering and death and Resurrection. We are heirs and heiresses to life in Heaven if we have passed through the water of Baptism - like a cleansing river - and live for love of Christ until we die. That is 'salvation'.
In the history of the world and of religions, there has been one Person Who killed no-one, who healed everyone who suffered, and Who has proved, by His Resurrection from death, that He can take His followers, too, up to Heaven, just as He has promised. That person is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary.
Whoever searches for an answer to life's questions can do no better than to listen to Jesus. He is the only one of Whom it can be said: He healed everyone, He killed no-one, and He rose from the dead, proving that He has the power to take His followers up to Heaven. Everyone looking clearly at the truth will appreciate that good news, which is worth having.
When we hear from the pulpit distorted versions of the Faith, when a member of the Clergy explains away the supernatural and casts doubt on such events as the Transfiguration of Christ, or His bodily Resurrection and Ascension, or His Mother Mary's Assumption into Heaven, we must nevertheless hold fast to the faith we know to be true.
Before Jesus came to earth, people everywhere were being carried away on torrents of sin. Only because He has conquered death and sin by His Cross and Resurrection can we now receive the grace to change and find forgiveness and the hope of Heaven. No-one can make himself holy, or enter Heaven, by relying on his own efforts.
Christ did not come to earth like a precious cargo from outer space, carried in a capsule that could be discarded. He was placed into the womb of His real Mother Mary, who then nurtured Him, gave birth to Him, taught Him, supported Him as He died, and was with Him and His friends after the Resurrection. From Heaven, she still helps us, His friends, today.
Through the free gift of Divine grace, all that Christ out God did for us in His earthly life has been given to the Church to dispense. It all stemmed from His being made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary. As man, He preached the truth, suffered and died for our sins, rose up from the tomb, and by rising up to Heaven made a Way in which we can follow, by our union with Him in our Baptism: a union made stronger by prayer, sacraments, and good works.
The Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became man, and bore suffering and death in order to fulfil His Mission, for our sakes. He knew He would rise from the dead; and by His Resurrection He proved that He has conquered death; and He can conquer our sins, if we put our trust in Him.
By His Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, Christ made a Way to Heaven. It's as if His head is in Heaven, as He speaks to the Father from our midst at every Mass, as a great mass of needy people encircles the altar on earth.
Whoever wants to know about a religion should look at the Founder. Jesus Christ, who founded the Catholic Faith and Catholic Church, came down from Heaven! He proved His claim by rising from the dead, as He had predicted. If we go to His Church we can share His Divine life, and receive forgiveness, light and strength for our journey, and the sure hope of Heaven.
There are two thoughts that can comfort those who grow weary of the long 'climb' towards sanctity and salvation; first, Heaven, and a wonderful welcome, awaits all who persevere; furthermore, nothing can break the 'rope' we climb. It is Jesus, true God, Who made the Way - the rope - by coming to earth and returning to Heaven. Our part is to keep climbing and not to let go.
Jesus Christ was God on earth: God-made-man, showing us His plan. He said that by Baptism in water we can be washed clean of sin, through His name, and given a share in His life, through the Holy Spirit, and made worthy of Heaven! Wise people believe what was said by Jesus, who proved His power and His Origin by His miracles, above all by His Resurrection from the dead.
Just before Christ ascended in triumph to Heaven, after His Resurrection, He sent out His disciples, so that they would tell the world the truth about Christ. He asked them to say: "He who believes and is baptised will be saved, but he who refuses to believe is condemned", which means, condemns himself through refusing the Eternal Life which is given with Baptism. To say 'no' to God, and His Son, brings terrible consequences, through one's own fault.
If we try to escape the Cross, we merely flee into darkness. No Christian can expect to escape some sort of crucifixion, whether interior desolation and trials, and the dark nights, or persecution, or the knowledge of one's own sinfulness. The only way to sanctity and Heaven is upwards, with Christ, one with Him in crucifixion followed by Resurrection even in this life, to find fulfilment and joy in His service.
It is nice to be in a warm room, at Christmas, yet if we go out into the garden at night, we might wonder what someone might think of our world, if he had come down from a far-away star. For Christ, coming from Heaven was like coming from a star of light and grace to a world of sinful people, many of whom persecuted and killed Him - but could not prevent His Resurrection. All who believe that He came from Heaven to save us from sin can be transformed by His power, and have a sure hope of reaching Heaven.
Christ invited us to set aside our distractions at Mass, and to rejoice that He is now amongst us in glory, now that His painful Work on earth had been completed, with His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. He wants His triumph to give us hope in our struggles against sin and hopelessness. With His power, we can persevere.
The Divine Son of God crossed the vast gulf between Heaven and earth, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to take flesh, and be born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After His Death and Resurrection He again crossed that gulf at His Ascension into Heaven, having promised that He would bring His faithful followers to Heaven, likewise; so the Spirit carries towards Heaven, all who die in a state of grace - though some pause for a while, in Purgatory, on their way to glory.
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