There is an ancient Latin hymn sung in the past on very solemn occasions in Catholic ceremonies whose refrain is as follows: “Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands” (in Latin Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat). The sentiment these words express are very much what Easter is all about.
On the night of the Easter Vigil, throughout the Catholic world a tall, stately candle is carried into darkened churches. The candle has embedded in its wax five nails, usually painted red, to symbolize the wombs of Christ. Also inscribed on what is called the Paschal Candle are the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, recalling the triumphant message of the Sacred Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end. Finally, the candle has the year 2019 written on it, reminding us that Jesus Christ is now.
When I see that candle being carried into the church at the Easter Vigil, I cannot help but recall that “Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands.” He is our all. He is everything to us. His death and Resurrection gives us hope, a hope that we desperately need today.
The world is filled with cynicism and indifferentism. People seem to have lost a sense of what is really important. They do not seem to really care. They look for consolation in gimmicks and substances. The world, as a consequence, can become very dangerous and very dark indeed.
But the tomb is empty. Christ conquers both sin and death. Christ reigns with His truth and His goodness. Christ commands in a gentle invitation, “Do not be unbelieving, but believe” (John 21:27).
As I extend my Easter greetings to you, I pray that our faith in Jesus Christ will be renewed and strengthened. May He conquer of fears, reign in our hearts, and command our lives. Then we will see more clearly how empty the tomb is and how more fully faith is fulfilled.