But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb but when they went in they did not find the body.4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home wondering what had happened. (Luke 24:1-12)
Easter is the most important event in the history of the world. Other events are marked by annual observances, both civic and religious. Once a year we celebrate Christmas, once a year we celebrate Fourth of July, our Independence Day. But Easter is different, we have a weekly observance, we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection each Sunday as a reminder that it is the most important event in our history and in our lives. If the whole Bible were lost but the Easter Gospel were saved, we would still have the Good News.
We might ask ourselves how 12 uneducated fishermen did this. A tax collector and peasants from backwater villages in a conquered country, without smartphones, they established a religion that embrace billions of people, one-third of the inhabitants of the world.
The answer is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
His Resurrection has changed everything. The Resurrection has divided history, not just our calendar into BC and AD.
On Easter, the Lord is inviting us to emerge from the tomb to walk in the light to know that the world can never be the same because he has conquered sin and death for all of us. In our own lives no matter how far we are from the Lord, Easter is an invitation, to draw near to gaze into the empty tomb, to put our fingers in the place of the nails, to renew our baptismal vows and know that we are part of Christ’s family. Easter is an invitation to new life, to a new beginning, Easter means that life and love are forever, nothing else matters.
When the risen Lord meets anyone in the Gospels, they are given a task, the task is to join the announcement, to be witnesses to the new life that is offered by Jesus Christ, even when persecuted the Church bears witness in its joy, overcoming fear in worship, in the midst of war, in famine, and during a pandemic. Today in the Ukraine, Christians find both perseverance and strength in the midst of a savage war. In churches, they gather in small groups to lift their voice in prayer because in the face of death and destruction their faith in the risen Lord gives them hope and joy.
At Easter we celebrate that new life that Jesus gives us. We witness to it when we insist that money isn’t our ruler, that self-promotion isn’t our King, that pleasure isn’t a fulfilling aim and that the ruthless individualism of our age can never bring happiness. The new life of Christ is broken into our world, it cannot be contained, nor restricted nor managed.
Today as we hear the Easter bells throughout our communities, they are a call to solidarity among all Christians that in the face of inhumanity to others, we are called to respond to witness to the power of the Resurrection, the power of love that is stronger than death, and faith in a provident God who can always bring good out of evil.
To know the risen Lord, is to know his love, and his invitation to lead a better life, to treat each other with greater respect and concern. To know Jesus’ Resurrection is to begin to understand that we too are going to live forever. In the light of the Resurrection, our lives must change. We must move beyond the materialism and individualism of our culture and embrace our mission to witness to the good news and make God’s kingdom more visible by the way that we love, forgive, care for each other and serve one another especially those who are sick and suffering. The Resurrection assures us that there is life beyond the cross, there is meaning to suffering, that love is stronger than death. If Easter is about being surprised by Joy, it’s also about sharing the good news and the joy that our Redeemer lives. Mary Magdalene ran to tell the people, let’s stop dragging our feet, we too must share the good news. Jesus Christ is risen today.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the grave and you have won new life for us. Give me the eyes of faith to see you in your glory. Help me to draw near to you and to grow in the knowledge of your great love and power.”
One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Lord and to know him personally.