|Bl. Fra Angelico's fresco of the Resurrection of Christ and the women at the tomb at the Convento di San Marco in Florence, c. 1440.|
...really risen, bodily and physically. Not metaphorically, not symbolically. He did not simply emerge from a comatose state and wander off (through the immense rock stopping up the entrance to the tomb?), nor did His disciples come in and steal His body so they could say He rose. He was really dead -- and remained in the tomb three days, long enough to prove it. He really went down and raided Hell, snatching out of it the souls of the just who had previously been barred from heaven, and really rose again.
From Pope Francis' Easter Vigil homily:
...let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the Body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesn’t tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind. Jesus is not dead, He has risen, He is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, He is Life Itself, because He is the Son of God, the living God. Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; He is the everlasting “today” of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness… and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!
Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome Him as a friend, with trust: He is life! If up till now you have kept Him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following Him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust Him, be confident that He is close to you, He is with you and He will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as He would have you do.