Christ has risen, Alleluia. He has truly risen, Alleluia! This is the greeting and response that Christians have given to one another on Easter morning. Our Lord has conquered death and redeemed us from our sins. For nearly two thousand years, we celebrate it as if it is happening today. And rightly so. For it is happening today. Jesus is risen, death is defeated, redemption is here.
It wasn’t that reaction of great joy on that first Easter morning. In John’s gospel, we get to hear of three different reactions to the empty tomb. Mary of Magdalene comes first on the scene, is upset and confused. She is the first to see the rolled-away stone and the empty tomb. She immediately goes to share that news with the apostles. Peter, the first to enter the tomb, is confused as well. He takes the time to see the burial cloths rolled up separately, not thrown or unrolled on the floor as they would be if the body had been stolen and dragged away. Then John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” saw and believed. He did not understand the Resurrection yet. But he so wanted the crucifixion of the one he loved, not to be the end. He believed at once that there was more to come.
The initial encounter of the empty tomb presents a paradox. It is not the presence of Jesus that inspired belief, but our Lord’s absence. Belief came without seeing, hearing, or touching. It came without proof. It came with doubt and confusion. We hear this today and will continue to hear it again over the next two Sundays. We all have different paths in our faith life. Sometimes we are very strong in our trust and belief and sometimes we are weak and troubled. We have had forty days of Lent to repent and believe in the Gospel. With the added challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, that preparation to celebrate Easter has been that much more difficult. Now, as we see light at the end of the tunnel in regards to the control of this disease, let us give thanks, especially in these fifty days of the Easter season, to Christ for his supreme sacrifice. Let us praise God for the promise of eternal life. Let us sing out in joy Alleluia, for our Lord is truly risen today.
May all of you parishioners, families, and friends have a blessed Easter on behalf of Fr. George, Donna, Linda, Mary Jo, Fred, Carl, and myself, we wish you health and happiness.
Love, Peace, and Joy,