With best wishes for a glorious Easter for you & yours! My cataracts
surgeries went well, & I'm having to adjust to a new way of seeing the
EASTER DAY (C)
They did not yet understand the Scripture that He
HAD to rise from the dead. – John 20: 9
Do we yet understand? Have we come here today to encounter the Risen
Christ as God has revealed Him, or merely a virtual Jesus that suits our
own fancy? The Who of Easter was not a religious figure that held
Himself piously aloof from the ordinary. He was not a Jesus of Madison
Avenue or of Rome or Athens , but Jesus of Nazareth: a common ordinary
place where nothing exciting or important would likely ever happen.
The highest appeared among the lowliest, the strongest among the
weakest, the best among the worst. What He did then He does now. Surely
the divine force that was present in Him can be seen in the unfolding of
a leaf or the sprouting of a blade of grass. But He is most of all to be
found among His fellow-humans who yearn to be free from the grip of
evil, free from the grip of hunger, of war, of loneliness, & of despair.
Jesus is the Who of Easter, & what happened to Him is the What of
Easter. What happened is that – as at no other time in human history –
love was locked in mortal combat with hatred, life was pitted against
death. Death was accepted, & death was overcome. The What of Easter is
that death does not have the last word – not for His life nor for ours.
His death was not symbolic but real, without cosmetics, flowers or sweet
music. Likewise His rising was real. We do not evade this startling fact
by saying that “His spirit lives on” or that “His ideas live on” or that
“He lives on in the lives of those who believe.” No, it is Jesus who
lives. Some want a scientific explanation of all this, but science can
only analyze one event by comparing it with other events. The
resurrection of Jesus cannot be compared to anything else. What is
proclaimed in the Easter Gospel has never happened before nor since.
Others have returned from the dead – even the Bible gives examples of
that – but they returned only to die again. Not so Jesus, who lives
“So what?” you might ask. We hear the answer in St. Paul ’s letter to
the Collosians: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is
above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. For you have
died, & your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life
appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3: 1, 3-4).
When did you first take up with Christ? Or, to be more precise, when did
Christ first take up with you? The risen Lord made you part of His
company, His Church, in Baptism. He renews Himself in us every time we
receive communion. Our oneness with Christ is now hidden in mystery,
just as His Lordship is hidden in mystery.
When the trumpet sounds & human history comes to its fulfillment, then
we will know fully what we now know in part. Then we will know by
experience the victory we now know by faith. For those who keep the
faith, this is the Who, the What, & the So What of Easter. I deeply pray
& hope that this is what all of us mean when we join with our Eastern
Orthodox brethren & joyfully shout (3 times): Christ is risen! He is
risen indeed! Alleluia!