Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter Sunday April 5, 2015

“I shall not die but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”  Psalm 118

Christ is Risen indeed, Alleluia.  The tomb where Jesus had been laid was empty and in the early morning twilight of that first Easter there was confusion.  The disciples, including Mary Magdalene, came to the tomb in the early morning light which sat on the horizon.

What they saw, however, was not death but the dawning of a new horizon. Not at first comprehended in the magnitude of the event, they began to see in the light of the resurrection a new horizon for all humanity.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead shed a new light on our human existence and continues to forge the dignity of each human. 

No longer are we bound by finite realities. Christ has brought human life within the divine life of God. Our life in Christ, then, has an endless and brilliant horizon, accomplished through the gift of eternal life given to us by Jesus Christ in our Baptism. 

So it is that we began the Easter liturgy today by affirming our profession of baptismal faith and the rite of sprinkling the holy people of God with holy water.

In Baptism, we are born into the resurrected life of Jesus Christ, a life that knows no finite boundaries. Death has no final hold on us.  The culture of death as we see it in the world today represented by the abortion lobby, assisted suicide activism or jihadist death cults wreaking havoc in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Kenya and across the planet cannot overcome the radiant hope and the love of Jesus’ resurrection, a hope that is offered to all equally without coercion, intimidation or terror. 

Yes, we all still die physically, but that is not the final word from the Creator. Our bodies and souls will be re-united when resurrected to the glory that we see already in Jesus, the firstborn of the dead. 

Our lives are now “hidden with Christ in God,” as today’s Epistle says. Like those first disciples, we gather in the morning on the first day of the week - to celebrate the Eucharist, the feast of the empty tomb and of our new horizon of hope.

With this faith, we come to find that the urgencies and anxieties that death can put upon our desire for life come to fade as we increasingly come to see that we have a horizon stretching forever.

Sin loses its appeal and power in light of this new horizon. Sins’ allure makes us believe that it can fulfill our needs here and now, and that there will be no greater opportunity to be fulfilled in the future. 

The resurrection of Jesus shows us the folly of  temptation. Sin’s false logic unravels in the face of eternity. The resurrection shows us the opportunity for an endless future of glory and fulfillment. The new horizon of life affirms that the present is much more than the only opportunity to satiate our desires. There is a majestic glory on the horizon for all who persevere in Christ Jesus. With faith we put our hope in a future filled with all the love one could ever desire.

St. John Chrysostom invites us in his Easter Homily:
“Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Saviour has set us free . . . “

The resurrection gives us our freedom to decide the direction of our life; to look to the new horizon of life unencumbered by the insidious snares of the devil. The death of Christ and his resurrection along with all those who have died in Christian hope — bestows an ineffable dignity on our liberty. 

What do we use our freedom for, a freedom that was purchased at such a great price?

The resurrection of Christ is the great light on the horizon to guide us in freedom. It gradually reveals to us the glory that awaits when we use our freedom to embrace his life, unintimidated by the culture of death or by the fading allure of the material world. His  resurrection is the light that leads to the endless glory of a resplendent beauty.

The glory of Easter is both a present and a future glory. It calls us to look for fulfillment, to use our freedom to choose the greatest good— a good that lies not in fear of any earthly power or temptation, but in a beauty that can only be attained through patience and hope. 

Easter is freedom for now and for an endless tomorrow. It is, therefore, as Easter people—by virtue of our Baptism, and nourished in the sacred food of the Eucharist—that we journey and live, not only to serve God today, but for the horizon of beauty that awaits us.

Today, we rejoice that the stones have been rolled away from our tombs, too. Each of us proclaims, as we hear in today’s Psalm:

“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”

Acts 10: 34a, 37-43
Ps. 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23 
Colossians 3: 1-4
John 20: 1-9

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