Easter Sunday: A Good Day to Die

03-31-2024Pastor's LetterTom Schmidt

Do you remember your own baptism? I wish I could; I was baptized as an infant, just a few days old. I envy the adults I have seen baptized at the Easter Vigil. Hopefully, they experience what St. Paul says in the epistle we hear at the Vigil. For Paul, Baptism is a sign of dying and rising to new life. Sounds like Easter to me. So when Jesus died, he rose from the dead. Is Paul telling us that we will rise from the dead, too?

Yes, but that is not his main point. If all we think about is our physical death, and hope we go to heaven afterwards, we’re missing the point. The new life starts with our baptism, not just our physical death. That’s why Paul says things like, “our old self was crucified” or “sinful body done away with….” (Rom 6:6) Baptism gives us a new life NOW. The water is both cleansing and a sign of dying (symbolic drowning) that help us see we are free from sin. We are dead to sin when we begin to live in Christ. The fictional Klingons have a saying “today is a good day to die” to express courage in battle. But real Christians might say that Easter is a good day to die: we have died to sin and begun a new life in Christ.

How do we experience this dying to sin? First, we identify the sinful areas of our life. Do I watch movies, video games, or TV shows that encourage promiscuity, lying, revenge, hatred or selfishness? What sins do I confess repeatedly and what can I do to avoid them?

Next we look for ways to act differently: Can I spend more time with friends/relatives who are examples of love? Can I spend less time entertaining myself and more time in prayer? Instead of complaining about what is wrong with the world, can I find ways to make it better? (If not the world, then my community or family.) These are a few of the ways we begin our new life in Christ.