Homily: Easter Sunday, 2013

Easter Sunday
31st March, 2013

Acts 10:34-43  Col 3:1-4,  the Gospel is John 20:1-9
Although Jesus had told His disciples many times that He would rise from the dead, they did not really believe Him. And so, it is not difficult to imagine the feelings of these women at that moment they saw the tomb was open and empty: Jesus body was no longer there! Feelings of sadness and dismay at the death of their Lord became feelings of disbelief and amazement.  

St John’s account of the resurrection is in two stages. First we are told of Mary of Magdala’s experience. The symbolism of being ‘still dark’ and yet a ‘first day’ of a new time is here. The faith of the apostles in Jesus, had been submitted to a severe trial by the scandal of the cross, and they are perplexed and bewildered. So, having been informed by the women that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, Peter and John run to the sepulcher and seeing the empty tomb they believe that Jesus is risen! St John makes a point of contrasting the two apostles. Peter as symbol of the Church leader, while ‘the other disciple’ is the one who, while having no position of authority, is described (by himself) as being specially loved by Jesus.

When we profess our faith in the resurrection of Jesus, we are not setting out something with the intention that our understandings should grasp it and comprehend it. The proclamation ‘Jesus is Risen’ is an invitation to share in a new way of seeing God, and it is only from within this new vision  of Faith, that it all makes sense. The message of today’s readings in the Acts and the Gospel is that we are invited to live in a new way: to live in Christ, and so to share in His resurrection.

St Paul in writing later to the Colossians explains: if we have been raised with Christ, we should seek the things that are from where Christ dwells: in Heaven. We should set our minds on spiritual things, not on worldly things. Having been born again through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are to feed our souls with spiritual things.

So, in accepting baptism and renewing our baptismal promises, we become part of a new people. The days after the first Easter gave Jesus’ disciples the opportunity to appreciate and marvel at his risen presence in their lives. They were able to respond with renewed dedication and hope-filled hearts. They could re-assess their attitudes and lifestyle and begin to put into practice Jesus’ teaching and example of selflessness, compassion and, most importantly, forgiveness. In this way, they were to become great witnesses to the entire world for the risen Lord Jesus.

We are also disciples of Jesus, and Easter Sunday and the following days are very cherished days for us too. During the days after Easter our faith challenges us to ask what difference does the resurrection of Jesus make in our lives? The Easter liturgical celebrations invite us to think about and reflect seriously on the implications of the resurrection for our faith and lifestyle.

Let us pray to the Lord at this time that Jesus may grant us to experience the joy of His Resurrection. Let us pray that we ourselves may become bearers of His light, and that through the Church, Christ’s radiant face may shine in our world.

Happy Easter Blessings to each one here today, and to all the ones you hold dear.