Bishop Ricken

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The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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Bishop Ricken’s Easter column

By | April 20, 2011

The victory has already been won


Bishop Ricken

“Jesus has freed us from sin and from the power of death. He has joined what was separated by Adam and original sin. He redeemed the corrupt world through his death on the cross, and he paid the ransom for us all through his resurrection. He has reestablished the original order before handing everything over to the Father on the last day.” — John Chrysostom, “On the Resurrection,” 3-5.

St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul),  who died in the year 407, was one of the early bishops and teachers of the church. Those early theologians and bishops had a way of writing and speaking that was so close to the time of Jesus of Nazareth that a tremendous connection to the earthly Jesus is evident in his writings as the quotation above indicates.

The point that he makes is that Jesus Christ has paid an outstanding debt, and that debt was paid in behalf of the Father for the sin of Adam. When our first parents were disobedient, they incurred the debt of sin and death. The only way for this debt to be paid off was through the blood of an innocent man. God sent his own son to pay the price of that ransom. The price of the disobedience and the betrayal was very costly for God the Father, the sacrifice of his only son.

As you go to your parish for the highest holy days of the year, I would ask you to bring this awareness to mind, that God paid a tremendous price so that you could be free from sin and death. All of creation could be once again re-established in the proper order the way it was at the very beginning in the garden of Paradise.

As your journey with the church on Holy Thursday evening and celebrate the Last Supper and institution of the priesthood; as you walk the Via Dolorosa with Jesus on his way to the crucifixion; as you spend Holy Saturday in vigil listening to the account of salvation history and our story as a people of faith; and as you celebrate the day of victory in risen glory on Easter Sunday morning, may your recall the huge debt that has been paid for you and for all humankind of all places and all of history.

As you gather with your families on Easter Sunday and as the children celebrate Easter glory through Easter egg hunts, etc., remember the great ransom that has been paid in full. The victory has already been won and the debt paid. It is just a matter of time until history catches up to this great realization.

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