Signs of the Risen Christ

At Easter we see the Risen Christ in sacraments, especially Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. St. John Chrysostom, following the Gospel of John, says that these are signs already revealed on Calvary. Jesus is dead when the soldier pierces his side; he is still on the cross. From his wounds the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist are given to his church.

Water comes forth and then the blood, Chrysostom says, “because first comes baptism and then the mysteries (the Eucharist).” With his spear, the soldier pierced the temple wall, the saint goes on, “but I am the one who finds the treasure and gets the wealth.” (cf. John 2,19)

From the sacraments the church is formed, the saint continues. Like Adam, who was cast into a deep sleep to form Eve, Christ dies the sleep of death and from his side the church is taken. “From his side Christ formed the church just as he formed Eve from the side of Adam.” (Baptismal Homilies, 3,16-18)

In an early baptismal homily preached in the church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem which the Emperor Constantine constructed atop of the remains of Calvary and the newly discovered tomb of Jesus, Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem (+387), says: “… you descended three times into the water and ascended, showing the symbol of the three days of Christ’s burial… How kind and loving! Christ received nails in his hands and feet, while I without pain and trials receive freely a gift of salvation because I share in his suffering.”

At Easter we recall our baptism and the Eucharist. Sacraments are real signs that bring us into the mystery of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. We meet the Risen Christ in them.

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