In the Scripture readings from Romans and Colossians for the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses, St. Paul proclaims the saving death and resurrection of Christ to the Christians of Rome (Rm 6:3-11) and Colossae (Col 3:1-4). In doing so, he is not saying that Christ raised Himself from the dead as man. For His resurrection is the divine action of the Holy Trinity. Accordingly, the Church teaches that “the Three Divine Persons act together as one” in raising Christ from the dead (CCC 648). In this sense, the Father raises the human nature of the Son by the Spirit (CCC 989). St. Paul calls this Spirit the glory of the Father. Hence, he tells the Romans that “Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father” (Rm 6:4). The source of their salvation is the death and raising of the Son by the Spirit of the Father.
St. Paul also reminds the Christians of Rome and Colossae that they participate in the saving death and resurrection of Christ (Rm 6:4-5, Col 2:12) through their baptism “into Christ” (Rm 6:3). As Christ was raised from the dead by the Spirit of the Father, they also will be raised from the dead by the same Spirit. This participation in the salvation of Christ is increasingly perfected. First, they participate in His dying and rising through the “grace” (Rm 6:14) of the Holy Spirit in baptism. This is the grace of justification that conforms them to the “image” of Christ interiorly (Rm 8:29, Col 3:10). Thus, St. Paul says that they image the Crucified (Rm 6:6, Col 3:3) and Risen Christ (Col 2:12, Rm 6:4). Second, he also says that through this grace, Christians receive the capacity to image Christ virtuously. In doing so, they are conformed to Christ Crucified by crucifying their sinful flesh, including their passions and desires, to the Cross of Christ through virtue (Rm 6:6). Accordingly, they “put to death the evil actions of the body” (Rm 8:13). They become “dead to sin” (Rm 6:11). They become “dead” to their “old self” through virtue (Rm 6:6). As a result, they image the Risen Christ by rising to a virtuous life in the Spirit. This prepares them to be raised by the Spirit of the Father on the last day.