For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Well, I have to say it again: Alleluia, Christ is Risen! This is most definitely the holiest of mornings. For this is the day on which our Lord passed from death into life, from the tomb into glory. It is the Feast of our Lord’s Resurrection; the Feast of his victory over death and sin; the Feast of all time and for all time.
Beyond that, what could possibly be said about a mystery as radical and incomprehensible as the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Well, St. Paul told the Corinthians that “if Christ has not been raised, then... your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14), which clearly suggests that none of this Christianity stuff is really worth messing with without the resurrection. For St. Paul, for the New Testament, and for the entire Christian Faith itself, the resurrection of Christ is everything. It is the essential precondition of the Gospel and thus of humanity’s salvation. The resurrection is of the utmost importance for us: “if Christ has not been raised, then... your faith is in vain.”
But the resurrection of Christ is only relevant to us if there’s some way for us to participate in it. If it’s just something that Christ experienced by himself, then even if he really did rise from the dead on that first day of the week, that fact alone doesn’t automatically explain why it’s any of our concern -- let alone of the most profound significance for us and the entire world. In order for the resurrection to be the very foundation of our faith, it has to somehow express the ultimate meaning and purpose of life itself.
Here’s the thing, though. What makes Christianity the weird religion that it is -- what makes it a divine mystery -- is its claim that the ultimate meaning and purpose of life is to be found in the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Christianity says that the only life that is truly meaningful, the only life that is truly worth living, is the “newness” of life that was granted to the risen Christ. And this life is one that Christ had to suffer death on the cross in order to live. The “whole point” of the resurrection, says one writer, “was to show the meaning of the cross”  -- indeed, “the best picture of the resurrection is the cross” .
So, the resurrection of Christ doesn’t “cancel out”  the cross, but is rather the full revelation of the whole point of the cross and of Christ’s earthly life up until the cross. The point is that the life of Christ was none other than the life of the God who is love -- and when divine love becomes incarnate and enters into human history, it necessarily looks like suffering. When you introduce the love of God into the world, it ends up looking like the cross. “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
But because it is the love of God incarnate that dies on the cross, death is not able to contain him forever. For death is a curse, a punishment for sin that plagues the whole human race, but Christ was the one human being for whom the curse did not apply. Death had no claim over him, for the life he lived in perfect obedience was already a life that was in a way beyond death, beyond the curse. And this means that his death on the cross, however revelatory, was not the main point of his mission on earth. Jesus did not come into the world in order to be crucified; he came into the world in order to be the Son of Man, to live as human beings were created to live, to live as the one who obeys the will of the Father. It just so happens that to live like that in a world like ours is going to get you killed. That’s what sin does. The cross therefore shows us the extent of Christ’s obedience: for Christ “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8), as St. Paul says to the Philippians.
But because of his perfect obedience unto death, “God has highly exalted him” on this glorious Easter morning (Philippians 2:9). The humility of Christ in his death earns for him the exaltation of resurrection . And when he rises again in glory and exaltation, he rises again into a new life, a new world, a “new way of being human”  altogether. In short, Jesus rises again into the Kingdom of Heaven.
And this is where we come in. This is where the resurrection of Christ becomes the ultimate relevance to us. “Christ [not only rose from the dead...so that...he might share the life of God, [but also] so that in him we should share the life of God” . This life of God is the Kingdom, it is Heaven, which means that the risen Christ is not just in paradise but simply is paradise .
[Heaven] is the risen Christ, the body of Christ living by love, the beginning of risen humankind, the ultimate future of humanity. It is because our bodies [now] share in this bodily life of Christ...that we conquer death, that we are able to live not for ourselves but by love, the love that Christ brings to us from God. 
This, finally, is where baptism comes in. We were so fortunate last night to have baptized two little boys into just this life of resurrection won for us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And it is the Sacrament of Holy Baptism that is the means by which our bodies come to share in the bodily life of the risen Christ. It is the means by which we are “united with him in a death like his” in order that “we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” When Neil and Cooper were baptized at the Easter Vigil last night, they too died with Christ to sin once for all; death no longer has dominion over them either. They have been regenerated; they have been brought into newness of life. The Holy Spirit who rose the Lord from the grave now lives within them, as they are now united to that very same Lord. It is the first step that God has taken to bring them to himself. And since their is one faith and one baptism, this risen life that was given to them by the grace of God is the same life that was given to us at our baptisms; the same life that was refreshed when I sprinkled all of you with the holy water of the Asperges at the beginning of mass this morning.
For, just as it was God the Holy Spirit who brought our Lord Jesus from the dead, it is God the Holy Spirit that baptizes us. The human stuff of baptism -- the water, the font, etc. -- is simply the humanity of the Church, the humanity of the mystical Body of Christ in which we have been made members incorporate. So when God brings the baptized into himself, he does not bring us someplace else; he simply brings us here, into his presence, the presence of the risen and ascended Christ who meets us here in mystery at the altar.
With all that said, the mystery of Easter is that “Though [Christ] now sits on the right hand of God,” to close with the words of John Henry Newman:
He has, in one sense, never left the world since He first entered it; for, by the ministration of the Holy Ghost, He is really present with us…, and ever imparts Himself to those who seek Him. [...] And as He is still with us, for all that He is in heaven, so, again, is the hour of His cross and passion ever mystically present…. Time and space have no portion in the spiritual Kingdom which He has founded; and the rites of His Church are as mysterious spells by which he annuls them both. [...] Thus Christ shines through them, as through transparent bodies, without impediment. 
The same is true for all who have been baptized into Christ and his glorious resurrection. For Christ now shines through us as well, our selves, our souls, and bodies made transparent to his life, resplendent with his glory. So again, Easter is the annual celebration of the Christian Fact, the only point of this whole operation. May Christ continue to bring us ever further towards a resurrection like his. And may Christ, the risen one, continue to shine in his Church this Eastertide and forever, world without end.
Alleluia, Christ is risen! Amen.
 Herbert McCabe. God Matters. 106.
 Ibid., 106.
 Herbert McCabe. God, Christ and Us. 89.
 St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, III, Q. 53.
 Herbert McCabe. God, Christ and Us. 90-91.
 Ibid., 90.
 Ibid., 90.
 Ibid., 90.
 John Henry Newman. Parochial and Plain Sermons. 658-659.