March 27, 2016 Easter Sunday Fr. Jim Miller

The Resurrection of the Lord The Mass of Easter Day March 27, 2016

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. R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 Col 3:1-4

or 1 Cor 5:6b-8

Alleluia Cf. 1 Cor 5:7b-8a

  1. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel Jn 20:1-9

Homily— March 26 & 27, 2016     Easter

            Long human history demonstrates that death comes for each of us, advancing on us, stalking us, cutting us down at the beginning of life, the prime of life, the middle of life or the end of life, turning our flesh and blood to dust and ashes.   This is what death does.  It does not miss anyone.  But Easter, Christ’s resurrection, is about life.

            Christ’s resurrection bursts through the chains of death into glorious new life.   God is, after all, the God of the living, as Jesus pointed out in a dispute with some Sadducees.

            The closest we get to Easter faith in today’s Gospel is the statement that the Beloved Disciple saw and believed something:  The Gospel does not tell us what he believed and adds that neither he nor the others understood the scriptural teaching that Jesus “had to rise from the dead.”

            Mary of Magdala opens the scene.  She goes out alone, carrying nothing—having no apparent task in mind as she approaches the garden early in the morning.   There is the implication that Mary and the rest of the disciples were still in the dark.   They did not know what to make of the empty tomb.  Mary’s first pronouncement as spokesperson for the community was the false statement that “they” had taken the Lord away and the unwittingly true admission that “we” don’t know where he is.   She started a rumor based on her assessment of the situation that Jesus body had been stolen.   When she saw that the stone had been moved, she was unable to imagine anything other than a grave robbery.   Mary hurried to share her assumption with Peter, the official representative of the community and another disciple whom we know as John.

            The first question we might ask at the end of this story is:  what did the disciple believe while failing to grasp the scriptural proclamation that Jesus would rise from the Dead?   What was different about this scene and the raising of Lazarus.   Lazarus came forth from the tomb still encumbered by the trappings of death, while the folded cloths reveal that those are empty symbols in regard to Jesus.   Lazarus came forth to resume life as we know it.   Jesus came forth to live with a resurrected body that had powers we can only imagine as he was at times unrecognizable and able to appear and disappear at will.

            Pope Francis wrote that “entering the tomb. . . . That is why we are here:  to enter, to enter into the mystery which God has accomplished with his vigil of love.

            We cannot live Easter without entering into the mystery.  It is not something intellectual, something we only know or read about. . . .  It is more, much more!

            To enter into the mystery means the ability to wonder, to contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us (cf. 1 Kgs 19:12).

            To enter into the mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality:  that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions. . .

            To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty, and love.  It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity, and our very existence.”

            Pope Benedict XVI wrote that “Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life, which is a part of the person, is indeed answered. . . God exists:  that is the real message of Easter.  Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed.”

            Death is not the end of God’s power or of our lives.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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