My brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially you, dear elect and candidates:1
We have lived together through this very beautiful days of mystery and redemption, holy days of Lent, leading us to the sacred Triduum — to the Last Supper and all the events of Our Lord’s passion, and now to his Resurrection on this holy night.
Our Lord is the Lord of history and his Providence guides the lives of nations and the life of every individual.
The long sequence of readings we have just heard tonight tell us the history of the world — from the first days of creation to the new creation that begins when Jesus rises from the dead.
My brothers and sisters, the God of Creation is our Father. Human history is the story of God “fathering” his family, raising up his Church, leading his children on their journey to the land that he promises — “where you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
And our lives are part of this great story of God’s family, his Church.
My dear elect and candidates, since the day you were born, God has been waiting for this night — when each of you would be ready to join your life to his great story of salvation, this great story of God’s love for his people.
Each of you, in your life, has been walking on your own path. And in your lives you have experienced many different things. Every life is unique. It has all been for a reason. Whether you ever knew it or not, God has been gently guiding you to this night.
Tonight, each of you has discovered the true path. All the winding roads of your lives have been made straight, and you find yourself where you were always meant to be — at the entrance of Our Lord’s empty tomb.
We stand here with you, along with the women who had come from Galilee, and we look in with amazement. We see the angels appear in dazzling garments, and we listen as they tell us: “He is not here, but he has been raised!” Jesus is alive — he has been raised!
Jesus is not a figure from the past, but a Friend who comes to take us the rest of the way on our journey.
He dies for us, and he rose for us. Now he calls us.
So the story does not end here at the empty tomb. No. The story is only beginning. The story of God’s family, the story of his Church, continues in your life and in my life. It continues in the life of every person we come in contact with.
I think for me, it’s very interesting, just to reflect on how the women who followed Jesus were the first to witness the truth of the Resurrection.
As we heard in the Gospel tonight, the women were the ones who returned from the empty tomb and announced all these things to the apostles and to all the others.
So, we remember tonight — that the Church from the beginning has always been more than the apostles.
The Church is God’s beautiful family and our Father gives each one of us a purpose, a duty, a part to play that no one else can play in this great story of salvation.
So, the question tonight — for each one of us — the question we ask as we stand in the presence of his empty tomb: What will we do to testify to the truth, to be witnesses to the Resurrection?
My brothers and sisters, it is a beautiful thing to know the living God! So tonight, let us resolve again to walk with Jesus in friendship and in love, and every day let us share his love and tell others about him. This is our mission, just like the apostles, just like the holy women, who became, all of them, witnesses of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
It is, indeed, a beautiful mission to be — just think about it — witnesses of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
So tonight, let us especially ask Mary Our Blessed Mother to accompany us always — every step of way, just as she walked with Jesus.
Happy Easter to all of you and your families!
1. Readings: Gen. 1:1-2:2; Gen 22:1-18; Exod. 14:15-15:1; Isa. 54:5-14; Isa. 55:1-11; Bar. 3:9-15, 32c-4:4; Ezek. 36:16-28; Rom. 6:3-11; Luke 24:1-12.