April 4, 2021
Dear Believers in the Christ,
Welcome to Easter! This glorious feast is the birthplace of faith. From the Resurrection of Christ Jesus, we sustain hope in our world. From this unbelievable outcome over death, we have built a Church. I welcome you on this Easter morning to Sacred Heart Church, Holy Rosary in Cascade and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Manitou Springs. I pray that your spiritual journeys will be renewed in Christ this day.
We proclaim John 20:1-9 on Easter morning. I love this gospel. Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb unsure about what just had happened to Jesus. Her inner turmoil kept her awake. She must have come to the tomb feeling empty. She was exhausted. Her inner loss and grief filled the night. I wonder how she found her way, stumbling on the path as the dawn cracked the sky.
Mary Magdalene was first to discover the empty tomb. History has not given her enough credit for this find, this spiritual encounter. She is called, “The Disciple to the Disciples”, for this very discovery and then telling the men. I can imagine she wiped the weariness from her eyes and still could not imagine such a finding. She panics. The emptiness filled her imagination about who took Jesus from the tomb. She needed another set of eyes to comprehend such an event.
Mary’s news to John and Peter caused alarm. They ran to verify the words of Mary. John arrived first to the place where Jesus was buried. John saw the cloths but could not bring himself to enter the tomb. His grief must have been overwhelming. Peter entered the tomb. He overcame his fear of what the tomb would reveal.
The tomb revealed the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head. Had someone moved the body, that cloth would still surround the head of Christ. Instead, it was rolled up, tucked in the corner of the tomb. It seems that Peter was still not making all of the connections. John saw the cloth and he believed. Something clicked in the heart of John. He knew Jesus had risen. He knew that through all of the turmoil, something new was happening.
Today, we are grateful for the lives of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, for their willingness to enter the tomb. Their courage speaks to us today. Their inner turmoil gave way to centuries of hope for many people. Today, we celebrate genuine life, that fear does not win. Today, we journey to the tombs that we have built from our own fear, discouragement and hopelessness. Jesus overwhelms the darkness with his light. Love has the last word.
We build our lives on Jesus’ resurrection. This is the core of our faith. We celebrate the resurrection at each Mass no matter the liturgical season. This is the story we share at every Eucharist. I realize that so many areas of our human lives have yet to experience hope. Every day we are surrounded by grief at the death of a loved one. We lose hope as we face the dark issues of Church including sex crimes and infidelity. We find only discouragement when we do not live up to our potential or when we discover others have not lived up to their commitments. Life is really tough. Easter does not gloss over heartbreak. Easter invites us realize we share the crosses of life. As we encounter myriads of deaths, God is with us. In Easter, we know within our hearts that love prevails.
Our link to Easter is our second birth in baptism. We are born again in Jesus’ resurrection. God is among us. Hope is alive. Love pierces even our darkest pain. Our commitment to one another in baptism is the way in which we live out this Easter morning message of love and hope. The white garment tucked away in the corner of the tomb is essentially the white garment given to us when we were baptized. We are clothed in glory, given a share in the miracle of the empty tomb.
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.”
God give you peace,