Earth-made, but heaven-bound, Alleluia!
Readings: Acts 10,34.37-43; Ps 118, 1-2.16-17. 22-23; Col 3,1-4; Jn 20,1-9
Easter invites us to celebrate the victory of Light, Life and Truth. The empty tomb of Jesus is an ultimate declaration of the victory of the King of kings and Lord of Lords. In His Name we also won a victory. This is indeed the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad, for we have been renewed.
The reality of the resurrection needs transformed witnesses who spread it far and near. Sometimes we tend to be a bit hard on Thomas for not believing without evidence, but the fact is that the chosen witnesses that Peter mentions in the first reading had the advantage of seeing the risen Lord with their own eyes. They were witnesses of how he went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. He died with a cry on his lips: „My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?“ At the same time, this is the God into whose hands he surrendered his life as he hang on the cross. The Father, who was with His Son as He proclaimed the coming of a new world (Kingdom of God) never abandoned Him even in death. He descended into hell (to the realm of the dead), but God raised Him up again. This is the good news that Peter and his friends are announcing. We can feel the effect of the resurrection in the friends of Jesus. They deserted Him when He was arrested, but now after encountering Him as the Risen Lord, they are witnesses of the new life that God has made possible. Those who heard them speak did not have the advantage of seeing what they saw. We also do not see the risen Lord, yet we receive the same invitation to faith. What we see is how Christians lead a renewed life after the Lenten Journey. We see newness in our sensitivity towards the needy in our midst. Let us ask ourselves: what has the lenten observance effected in us? When people see us, are they motivated to believe that the Spirit of the Risen Lord is at work in us?
In the second reading, Paul encourages us to set our hearts on higher things. We are earth-made, but heaven-bound. The power of the resurrection can be effective in us, that is to say, in our own earthly existence we notice signs of transformation that the Spirit effects in us. We have all made the experience that in God there is mercy in the sight of sin, there is healing in the midst of suffering, there is satisfaction for the starving; joy replaces sorrow and eternal life replaces death. He has put death to death so that we might trully live. This is the power of the resurrection visible in both our personal lives and in the life of our families and communities. Being raised up with Christ means enjoying a life full of virtues like faith, hope and love. Our eyes and hearts have been opened to see the goodness of the good news that Jesus is alive. We have died to fear, shame and guilt and are now sharers in His glory. Religion should not be taken as the avenue through which we only get in touch with our inner evil but also with the immortal treasure of virtue. That was the temptation of the „religious people“ at Colossae (Col 2,21). Sin has no power over us. Jesus has overcome it and is leading us in love and freedom. As Easter people, let us deepen our love for God and one another because at the end it is love that wins!
For more than two thousand years Christians have been calling the event of the empty tomb resurrection. This is not just the meaning of Easter, but the very reason we are Christians at all. What Mary Madgalene and the disciples Peter and John found that morning speaks about the action of God in giving victory to His Son. The King of kings, the Lord of lords is conqueror over evil and death. The world may attempt to silence the truth but the empty tomb makes a clear declaration: all human lies are empty. May the empty tomb be also an expression of our readiness to receive new life from. If our hearts have been emptied of disordered desires, let us now accept the new order that God gives. During the first week of Lent we prayed: „Father, through the discipline of Lent help us to grow in our desire for you.“ The resurrection of Christ is the definitive answer to our prayer, to the deepest desires of our hungry and thirsty hearts. May our hearts not be „empty tombs“ but „empty wombs“ where Christ can plant seeds of the resurrection. May His light shine into the dark corners of our hearts so that we may indeed be Easter people (new people). If you continue harboring sentiments of anger, hatred, revenge, jealousy, envy etc then you make yourself a closed tomb. Instead after having abstained from earthly pleasures, vices and bad habits, let us lead new lives characterized by deeper trust in God and more solidarity with the needy. We are now in the joy of heaven. Joy reigns sipreme. As Easter people we will still work, still suffer, still worry, and we may even sin again; we may return to our old patterns and prejudices but the good news is: Jesus will not give up on us. Jesus died with a thirst (John 20). The thirst of God for us and for our love is greater than our thirst for Him. Let us stop running away from Him and allow ourselves be embraced by His never-ending love. The journey of Lent helped us confront our old patterns. Now the old order has passed away. We are now new. It is time for a passover from old to new styles and principles of life. ALLELUIA!