Since this blog has acquired quite a few new readers recently, I should mention that although it isn’t a Holy Day blog – I write mostly about other things -- I always offer a reflection on Easter and another on Christmas, drawn mostly from the Fathers of the Church.  This one, though, is from Thomas Aquinas, who asks in his Summa theologiae, “Was it necessary for Christ to rise again?”  Here is how he answers.  On Monday, I’ll be back to the old stand.

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It behooved Christ to rise again, for five reasons.

First of all; for the commendation of Divine Justice, to which it belongs to exalt them who humble themselves for God's sake.  "He has put down the mighty from their seat, and has exalted the humble."  Consequently, because Christ humbled Himself even to the death of the Cross, from love and obedience to God, it behooved Him to be uplifted by God to a glorious resurrection ….

Secondly, for our instruction in the faith, since our belief in Christ's Godhead is confirmed by His rising again, because "although He was crucified through weakness, yet He lives by the power of God."  And therefore it is written "If Christ is not risen again, then our preaching is vain, and our faith is also vain": and "What profit is there in my blood?" … as though He were to answer: "None.  For if I do not at once rise again but My body be corrupted, … I shall gain no one” ….

Thirdly, for the raising of our hope, since through seeing Christ, who is our head, rise again, we hope that we likewise shall rise again.  Hence it is written "Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead?" And "I know" (that is, with certainty of faith) "that my Redeemer" (that is, Christ) "lives" (having risen from the dead), "and" (therefore) "in the last day I shall rise out of the earth... this my hope is laid up in my bosom."

Fourthly, to set in order the lives of the faithful: "As Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life": and further on; "Christ rising from the dead dies now no more; so do you also reckon that you are dead to sin, but alive to God."

Fifthly, in order to complete the work of our salvation: because, just as for this reason did He endure evil things in dying that He might deliver us from evil, so was He glorified in rising again in order to advance us towards good things:  "He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification."

-- Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologia, III, Question 53, Article 1.  The full text of the passage is here.