EASTER SUNDAY Acts 10: 34a, 37-43;
Ps 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23;
Col 3: 1-4;
John 20: 1-9 Happy Easter, Today we solemnly celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our readings remind us that it is not just a historical fact that Jesus rose from the dead, but it is a life-transforming event, not only for Jesus but also for all who believe in Him. During the Easter Season, our First Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. We can see the effect that the resurrection of Jesus had on His followers. Today's reading is from Peter’s speech proclaiming the person of Jesus, not only as a miracle worker and a great preacher but as One Who has died but is risen again and has appeared to His followers. Not only has Jesus been seen by His disciples, but He has eaten and drunk with them as a sign that He is not just an illusion but a person with a body that is a glorified body. Because Jesus is risen and has appeared to His followers, they are commissioned to announce His message and continue His ministry.
The psalm which is used during Easter Week speaks about the stone rejected by the builders. This is a reference to the “Temple” which Jesus said the religious leaders would destroy but He would build up again in three days, the “Temple” of His body. The leaders had rejected Him, but God chose not only to accept Jesus but to build the new House of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Johannine Gospel relates the account of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb before the sun rose on Easter Sunday morning. Expecting to see the tomb still sealed, she plans to keep vigil at the tomb. She is surprised to find the sealing rock
removed and the tomb empty. Still not fully understanding what has taken place, she runs to the frightened and saddened disciples and tells them about the empty tomb. She wonders where they have taken the body. Peter and John hasten back to the tomb. John, being younger and probably more athletic, arrives at the tomb, but does not enter it until Peter reaches the tomb. As they enter and see the burial clothes neatly folded, they realize something special has happened. It seems that John quickly believes in a miracle, the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises to rise again. Peter, the one who had denied his Lord three times, does not seem to so quick to accept the idea of Jesus’ resurrection.
As I reflect on the readings, I wonder how I would have reacted if I had been at the tomb on that first Easter Sunday as were Mary, Peter, and John. I, like Mary, might have been confused, thinking that someone had taken the body of Jesus to another place. I doubt if I would have had the immediate response of John, and been able to put it all together and realize that Jesus was fulfilling what He had promised, to rise from the dead. I can readily identify with Peter. I realize that I have denied my LordJesus many times.
Being sinful, it is hard to understand and believe that JESUS DIED AND ROSE for me. Our lives as disciples of Jesus require us to not only believe in the forgiveness and peace and salvation which come to me and others through Jesus’ death and resurrection but to be witnesses of the Risen Lord to others. We must be Easter people, Alleluia people. We must be Risen and Saved people because our Lord Jesus has died, and is risen, as He said.
May we continue to celebrate the Shalom of the Risen Lord in our lives and may that empower us to be a faithful witness of the relationship God has re-established with all of humanity through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.