AN EASTER HOMILY
“When Christ our life appears, then you also will appear with him.”
Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today's Gospel tells us that Peter and John "saw and believed." Chosen to be "witnesses" to the reality of Christ risen from the dead. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that the Apostles were "commissioned...to preach...and testify" testify that they had seen Jesus - from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb.
In this sense the resurrection life (this new life of God’s power) had begun with Christ, the Son of God, when he was born as Jesus of Nazareth, a human person. Acts tells us, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” Jesus was going about doing good i.e. doing God’s will, healing the sick, forgiving sinners and proclaiming the Kingdom of God in the here and now, living his human life for the sake of others.
Beyond even their own experience, the Apostles were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God's saving plan – to know how "all the prophets bear witness" to Christ (Luke 24: 27, 44). Now they could "understand the Scripture," they could teach us what Jesus had revealed to them and how that related to what he did, by the power of God. Jesus was "the Stone which the builders rejected," now he has become the head cornerstone; the Servant King who turning history and all notions of kingship upside down; Jesus who put the good of others ahead of his own wants or needs.
We are the beneficiaries and stewards of their apostolic witness. That is why we still gather on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast, to give thanks for "Christ our life," as today's Epistle calls Him. This means that we live that resurrection life now not just seeking some future reward, we live the resurrection as we serve others in the name of the Lord: we pray for the sick and visit them, we take a compassionate interest in others not just in our own ideas or projects.
This means that in the face of the narcissism of Western Culture we choose to live in the light of the resurrection not individualistically but as a community, a community whose life is Christ: Christ our life -- not my life but our life. We share in the life of his body by submitting our time, talent and treasure to the good of His community – the Body of Christ so that his resurrection life may be manifest.
Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the life of the risen Christ, our lives as St. Paul says: "hidden with Christ in God." We are now His witnesses, too. So we are called to testify to things we cannot see but believe; we seek in earthly things what is above and we journey together to our own resurrection in the power of the resurrection of Jesus by attending, as he did, to the needs of others.
We live in the light of the Apostles' witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And while we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come – the day when we too "will appear with Him in glory" we live in the power of Christ’s resurrection serving others in his pattern and in his strength.