Fr. Jim homily

5 minute read


Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Ps. 118; Col. 3:1-4; Jn. 20:1-9

(Audio recorded live, 9 April 2023)

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. He is risen! Alleluia! Truly, He is risen! Alleluia! Today we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord, the one event that changed the course of history, and ushered in an era of forgiveness, grace, and peace. Indeed, the forgiveness that comes from God goes far beyond human forgiveness; and the grace that comes from God goes far beyond any human gift; and the peace that comes from God is far beyond human understanding. Nevertheless, we who follow Christ, who believe in him, as St. Peter says, “receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” There is indeed only one name that is above every name, which is Jesus, and at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11). Jesus, who is like us in all things but sin, triumphs over sin because he carries out the Father’s will to the very end; Jesus, who is the only begotten Son of God, triumphs over death because the Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal (See Sequence). Today, more than any other day of the year, we are drawn into the great mystery of our faith, namely, that Christ died for us, taking upon himself our sins, nailing them to the cross, and on the third day rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, where he sits at the right hand of the Father.

Today, at this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we focus on the empty tomb, mindful of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, but drawn ever more deeply into the ongoing reality that He is risen. We see how the disciples of Jesus were perplexed at what they discovered at the tomb. Mary of Magdala saw the stone removed and immediately ran to tell the others. When Peter and the other disciple arrived at the tomb, they discovered the burial cloths, but Jesus was not there. Yet, John tells us that when the other disciple entered the tomb, he saw and believed.

Sometimes seeing is believing, but what did the disciples see? An empty tomb with burial cloths and no body? Or was there something else? If you recall, Jesus had a friend named Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead. When Jesus performed that miracle, he commaned Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Lazarus came out still wrapped in burial cloths, and Jesus commanded the people to untie him and let him go. Jesus set Lazarus free from the chains of death, but this was not to last forever. Lazarus would still die a natural death, which is why we distinguish Lazarus’ rising as resuscitation, not resurrection. But, when Jesus rose from the dead, however, the disciples find his burial cloths, and particularly the cloth that covered his head rolled up in a separate place. What could this mean? Notwithstanding a completely new kind of physics that enables Jesus to pass through objects (remember, Jesus later appears to the disciples behind a locked door), the fact that Jesus took the time to roll up his corporal is an indicator to the disciples that he has accomplished what he was sent to do. As we heard on Good Friday, after Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.”

Jesus left a sign to his disciples that he had accomplished what was written in the scriptures, namely, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, nor let your devout one see the pit, (Ps. 16:10), and “He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence” (Hos. 6:2). You see, what Jesus did was not for himself, but for all mankind. His death settled the debt of Adam, the Original Sin, which was attached to us all. But, through the Resurrection, we now look to Christ as our Redeemer, the one who sets us free from that debt to sin. And our baptism raises us to a new status as sons and daughters of the Father, brothers and sisters in Christ. Most importantly of all, his rising is a foreshadowing of the rising of us all, so that we might all live in his presence.

Today, Christ is risen and he is present among us, in the proclamation of the word and the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. So, let us live in this presence of our Blessed Lord, let us welcome his presence into our homes, and most especially, let us give witness to his presence in our life, for it has been on the testimony of believers that we have received so precious a gift. And may all of you have a most blessed Easter, for he is Risen. Truly, he is Risen! Alleluia.

Sequence - Victimæ paschali laudes
Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia.

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