In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
Faith in God’s love is ours only because we have received it from Him, through His Church—founded on the Apostles—whose mission it was to hand on what it had been given. We were not there. How else would we know?
St. Paul tells us that “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” In its notation on this verse, the Church teaches that firstfruits are “the portion of the harvest offered in thanksgiving to God, [implying] the consecration of the entire harvest to come. Christ’s resurrection is not an end in itself; its finality lies in the whole harvest, ourselves.”
The risen Christ is still a human being as well as the Second Person of the Three-Person God. He still shares our human nature though it is united inseparably and inextricably to his divine nature. And we, his baptized faithful, share his divine nature, as well as having our human nature. But for us, the two are not, in this life, inextricably united because we can lose our divine nature by sinning mortally.
In this, then, is the crux of Easter: the love shown, the pain endured and the glory revealed, so that we might never doubt that no matter how far down the prodigal path we go, we always have a way back to the Father, if we so choose.
“And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain … And if Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:14, 17).