April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday Fr Jim Miller

Easter Sunday—April 20 & 21, 2019

Easter Sunday
The Resurrection of the Lord 
 The Mass of Easter Day

Reading 1 ACTS 10:34A, 37-43

Responsorial Psalm PS 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.

  1. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

Reading 2 COL 3:1-4

Sequence Victimae Paschali Laudes

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
    Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
    Christ, who only is sinless,
    Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
    The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
    What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
    The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
    The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
    to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
    Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
    Amen. Alleluia.

AlleluiaCF. 1 COR 5:7B-8A

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 20:1-9


            The Fourth Gospel gives us many takes on the stories about the life and ministry of Jesus.  Now with the story of the discovery of the empty tomb we have another story.  Though Luke tells us that Mary Magdalene (in the Gospel of John:  Mary of Magdala) and other women were the first to encounter the empty tomb, that story also had two men “in dazzling garments” speaking to the women.  In John’s account Mary seems to be alone, and upon finding the stone turned away, she runs to Simon Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved.  We need to read further in the gospel than what we hear in today’s liturgy to find out more about Mary’s role on this morning. 

            The Easter Sunday morning Gospel of John reveals that of all of them, only Mary Magdalen spoke the truth about the disciples’ immediate situation.  That happened rather inadvertently when she admitted that “they” had taken the Lord and “we” do not know where he is.  The disciples were in a state of confusion—at best.

            Sometimes I get confused too.   Yesterday I was called to the hospital and to hurry to ICU.   When I arrived I overheard the family say they were Catholic but non-practicing so I was not needed.   I kept my mouth shut and did not make any inappropriate comments about where I thought they were going but their comment made me sad.    I then went to the confessional and heard a person’s confession who had not been there for years and that made me happy and put me in a much more tranquil mood.

            What a difference a day made in the life of the disciples of Jesus!   From the sadness and despair of his death to the empty tomb that indicated Jesus was alive!  The disciples were ecstatic that Jesus was alive.   His life ends in victory and not defeat.  Redemption is secure for God’s created people, and the crown of salvation is theirs.  The rolled-away stone demonstrates to the world that our sinned and stained creation, where Adam and Eve’s descendants wallowed in shame, is only a memory.  God reclaims his people.  All is good again; all is very good again. 

            The risen Jesus frees the Holy Spirit to roam, dispersing gifts of joy, love, hope and peace.  Why?  Because each person’s destiny is changed.  Through the risen Jesus, all creation shares a similar destiny.  Like Jesus, they, too will rise again on the last day.  They will join those who died before them, because Jesus has kept this promise to his followers.

            However, Easter’s event does not mean Jesus’ followers live solely for the next world.

            This cannot be further from the truth.  Believers live now because Christ restored hope to their suffering world.  Their task now is to share it with those around them, and Jesus left behind a detailed list.  These are the disheartened, the marginalized, the chronically ill, those who are poor and all those we meet by chance who need their spirits and souls nurtured.

            Pope Francis wrote “Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord—each of us knows what they are—so that he may enter and grant us life.  Let us give him the stones of our rancor and the boulders of our past, those heavy burdens of our weaknesses and falls.  Christ wants to come and take us by the hand to bring us out of our anguish….May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the center of our lives.”

            We are God’s messengers today.  We bring the good news that Christ is alive and still at work in the life of every person.  So many of our brothers and sisters have become numb to the evidence all around them that Christ is alive and active.  We have to help people make sense of the signs of Christ’s presence in the world today.

            In Luke’s thinking, God had sent the Son specifically to reveal the resurrection so that humanity could live without fear of death.  I would state that I have faith in new life and resurrection but I want to strengthen my prayer life and friendship with the Lord so that He will recognize me as a friend at my tomb.

Click here to LISTEN to homily