Fr. Roy Cimagala
With the celebration of Easter, which com-memorates the resurrec-tion of Christ, his victory over sin and death, we are told by our Christian faith that we are made new. We are now a new creation.
St. Paul tells us as much. “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.” (2 Cor 5,17)
But we may ask, what does it mean to be ‘in Christ,’ and how does Christ make us new? What has his resurrection got to do with our becoming a new creation? What does his resurrection contain that it can make us new?
These questions, I believe, can help us to have a finer understanding of the process of our renewal, which actually is a lifelong process for us and which we have to do continually.
We need to renew because we tend to grow old and to die spiritually. Bodily, of course, we cannot help but grow old and die eventually. But spiritually, we are supposed to live in eternity, ever young, new and fresh.
We have to remind ourselves that what makes us old and subject to death is sin, that is, when we detach ourselves from God from whom we come and to whom we belong. We, who have been created in God’s image and likeness and adopted children of his, are meant to live our life with God who is eternal, ever new and never growing old.
To make ourselves new again after we have fallen into sin and thus putting ourselves in the system of getting old and dying, we need to be forgiven, to receive God’s mercy.
Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection actually represent the ultimate of divine mercy and forgiveness. His death represents his bearing and assuming all the sins of men, from that of Adam and Eve to the last sin that still has to be committed, of the last man who still has to be born. His resurrection represents his victory over sin and death. His death and resurrection therefore comprise the ultimate of divine mercy.
There’s just a very interesting passage in the Book of Lamentation in the Old Testament that can give more force-fulness to this divine mercy that is responsible for making us a new creation.
It says: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassion fail not. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” (Lam 3,22-23)
We therefore have every reason to be most hopeful. Christ has already guaranteed for us that we can be made new, as long as we go along with him. Better still, as long as we identify ourselves with him to the extent that we become “another Christ, Christ himself.”
We should assume the mind of a victor and a winner, full of confidence, but aware also that to be such would require constant struggle. We should think that no evil can overcome us as long as we manage to be with Christ who gives himself to us very abundantly and easily.
This is how we are always made new. Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain, Paref-Southcrest School, Banilad, Cebu City Email: roycimagala@ gmail.com.