Post-Easter Reflections on Christ’s Resurrection
In the first 300 years of our Catholic faith, the Fathers of the Church wrote profound homilies on the teaching passed to us from the Apostles. The following is a paraphrase from an ancient homily whose author is unknown.
Jesus has gone to search for our first parents, as for lost sheep. He desires to visit those who live in darkness, in the shadow of death, He, who is both God and the son of Eve, has gone to free them from sorrow and captivity. The Lord approaches bearing the cross, the weapon that has won Him the victory over death. He takes Adam by the hand and raises him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
“I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on My face the spittle spat at me in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See bruises of the blows I bore in order to refashion your warped nature in My image. See the marks of the scourging on my back I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a forbidden tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced My side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, instead I will enthrone you in heaven.”
In the Nicene and Apostles’ Creed we pray: “He descended into hell.” What better picture is there, than this narrative to explain the power of those four words?