Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter Sunday

Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; John 20:1-9 or Matthew 28:1-10 or Luke 24:13-35

The trial of Jesus, his walk to the place of execution and the execution itself were public events - a public spectacle seen by the whole people. But nobody saw his resurrection from the dead. He rose in the silence of the night, in the darkness before dawn, in that time of mystery and prayer in which God creates and re-creates.

God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses. It seems strange that the end of Jesus should be seen by the whole people, while the new beginning was seen only by a few: Mary Magdalen, Peter, and John were the first of these witnesses.

Mary was the disciple from who Jesus had cast out seven demons. Her love for Jesus brought her to the tomb, just as it had kept her beside the cross. On her lips may be placed the words of the Song of Songs, 'I will seek him whom my soul loves'. Her search was rewarded when the risen Lord identified himself to her.

Weak in courage but strong in faith, Peter also loved Jesus and so was privileged to see his glory. John, the beloved disciple who lay by Jesus at the Last Supper, outran Peter, saw that the tomb was empty, and believed the mystery that the Lord Jesus was risen from the dead.

Mary, Peter and John each became witnesses of the risen glory because they were the ones who loved him greatly.

In the resurrection of Jesus, love triumphed over death. The victory belongs to God who is love, and love is the way to the vision of divine glory. In the world today, Christians are the witnesses to the resurrection of Christ. How we live 'proves' that the Lord is risen. Saint Paul says that 'our true life is hid with Christ in God'. The witness of a believing, hoping and loving people points to the glory of Christ shining in the heart of this struggling and broken world. This is not a spectacle for the whole people to see, but only for certain witnesses. It has always been so.

Those who love Christ see his glory as the only Son from the Father, and they become the witnesses who carry this news to the whole world. In the end, every human being must become such a witness.

On Easter Day we believe more strongly than ever in the power of God's love to create and to re-create what God loves. We have a new and a better hope. We can love because God has loved us with a love stronger than death, a love more fiercely jealous than the grave.

Let us rejoice and be glad for the Lord is truly risen. Alleluia!

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