The Resurrection

Gospel John 20:1-9 

Dear friends, brothers and sisters, today is Easter Sunday on which we celebrate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Resurrection of Jesus proves that He is really God. Easter is the Feast of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. It is the Feast of Jesus freeing us from the bondage of sin and death. The Resurrection of Jesus is the basis of our Christian faith, that is, all the basic doctrines of Christianity are founded on this truth of the Resurrection of Jesus.

Some people usually as the question – Did Jesus really rise from the dead since no-one really saw Him rise? No-one saw Him physically rise from the dead. We don’t have direct proof of this key event but from after experiences of events there are three pointers to show that Jesus really rose from the dead.

The first pointer is the Empty Tomb. Jesus was the first person to be buried in that new tomb, and it was found empty. The Roman guards even bore witness to the fact of the empty tomb. In today’s Gospel we have the experience of the empty tomb as a sign of Jesus’ Resurrection to life. Jesus is risen, He is not there. Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, the discovery of the empty tomb sets all in motion. Mary Magdalene runs back to tell that the Lord’s body is not in the tomb. That experience must have been very disappointing but it was also a clear message that Jesus had risen as He had said before. Peter and John also run to the tomb and find out that the Lord is truly risen.

The second pointer is women being the first witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus. In today’s Gospel St John tells us that is was Mary Magdalene, a woman, who was the first witness of the Resurrection.

The third pointer is the transformation of the disciples of Jesus. It led the disciples to a different understanding of what had first been a tragedy, a disaster and a failure because when Jesus was crucified they thought that was the end. But the experience of the Resurrection of Jesus turned the faith of the disciples and their lives were completely transformed. Because of the Resurrection, the disciples who were at first afraid of being arrested as accomplices of Jesus, suddenly made a complete turn around and began to proclaim that Jesus who died on the Cross, was alive and with them. There is no doubt that their experience with the Spirit of the risen Lord gave them their unshakeable courage that they were ready to even die for the truth. And when in fact they were arrested, executed and imprisoned it became a course of rejoicing that they were now even more closely related to the experience of their Lord, sharing in the sufferings and also in His Glory.

In the first reading, we see Peter now a completely transformed man, who denied Jesus during his trial and persecution, now boldly and courageously and convincingly giving witness to the Mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, Easter is not only concerned with the recalling of the Resurrection of Jesus or its impact on the first disciples, but also the meaning of this event for our lives and our faith. The celebration of Easter calls for a radical conversion on our part, just as Jesus’ own disciples changed and converted. So the Feast of the Easter Resurrection gives us a joyful message that we are Resurrection people also and this means that we are not supposed to be buried in the tomb of our sins. We need to rise up from the tomb of our sins, our evil habits, addictions.

That is what Easter is meant for us. It gives us the Good News that no tomb can hold us down anymore, neither the tomb of despair, discouragement, doubt nor even death. Instead we are expected to live a joyful and peaceful life, constantly experiencing the real presence of the risen Lord in all the events of our lives. Easter reminds us that every Good Friday in our lives will have an Easter Sunday and that Jesus will let us share the Power of His Resurrection. Whenever we experience suffering, it will always lead us to something positive. Each time we show love to others, we share in the Resurrection. In short, the message of Easter is that nothing can destroy us – pain, sin, rejection, death – because Christ has conquered all of this and we too can conquer them if we put our faith in Christ. Today we are also asked to bearers of the Good News of the Resurrection Power. Before the Power of the Resurrection can take hold in our lives, we are called to die to sin, to die to self. And we must spread the Good News as Mary Magdalene did – we have seen the Lord. We must joyfully spread, proclaim and witness the news of the risen Lord among us and share the joy with others, not keeping it for ourselves.

The second reading tells us that Jesus has risen from the tomb and taken His place in Heaven. St Paul asks us to do things that will lead us to where the risen Lord is. One of the things we can do is to be faithful to His teaching in the Scriptures, and to share the Good News with others.

We pray that the risen Lord may bless us, may He help us to be faithful to His teaching, and to be witnesses to the Gospel message. May He bless us in a very special way. Amen.