My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Happy Easter to you all!
Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! Let us especially rejoice today as the family of God!
Today we stand at his empty tomb — and we feel the same amazement of those first disciples.
So how can this be possible?
Just on Good Friday, we stood at the foot of the Cross with Mary his Mother and St. Mary Magdalene. And we witnessed what we heard in that first reading today — “they put him to death by hanging him on a tree.”
So how can it be possible that he is risen?
But today, we stand at the empty tomb. And we hear the words that the angel spoke to those first disciples.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.”
For us — this is all impossible. But for God — all things are possible!2 So, Christ is Risen! “He has been raised; he is not here.”
On this Easter Sunday we need to let the light from that empty tomb fill our lives with joy, with true hope.
We celebrate today — the truth of who Jesus is.
He’s truly risen from the dead and this confirms — without a doubt — that he was who he said he was. He truly is the Son of God.
And for us, that means his teaching is true, it is the Word of God for our lives. And that means we can give our lives to him, put our trust in his words and that that path he calls us to follow as children of God in the Church is the true path.
And today, once again — Jesus, the Risen Christ — he’s holding out his hand to you and to me. He’s calling us to live a new life — walking in his footsteps and by his light. He’s calling us to follow him on the path of life that he sets before us. A path that we know is true — because he has truly risen!
So the empty tomb of Easter opens our lives and our world to the promise of eternity. We now know that the journey we are making on earth — if we follow the way of Jesus — will lead to heaven.
St. Paul tells us in the second reading of today’s Mass:
If then you were raised with Christ …
Think of what is above, not what is on earth. …
When Christ your life appears,
then too you will appear with him in glory.
Because he has risen — we also know that we will rise! So, we can trust in Jesus. We can live now with our eyes fixed on him — who died once to live forever.
So my dear brothers and sisters, as we celebrate at this beautiful Solemnity of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, let us try to set aside any sadness, anxieties or troubles. And let us try to keep our eyes on heaven and the promise of the Resurrection.
Jesus calls us to follow him from the empty tomb — to go out into the world and really live!
He is calling us to see our lives as a gift of love that God gives us. He is calling us to see everything we do as a work of love that we offer to God and to our brothers and sisters.
When we truly understand this path that Jesus is calling us to walk — it really gives our lives a new meaning and a new direction.
Jesus calls us now to follow him from that empty tomb and to experience our lives as a gift of love that we receive from God. An extraordinary blessing that we have received with our life and with our faith.
He calls us now to see our daily work as a sacrifice and a service of love that we offer to God and to our brothers and sisters. He calls us to spend our lives in the service of others, giving them life and hope and sharing his joy. Love is life-giving or it is not real love.
The meaning of our life changes — you understand how wonderful it is, that extraordinary gift we have received, and it really makes sense. Then we can pray and hope for peace in our world, for peace in our society. For all of us to work together to make a big change in our society. To really help people to understand the meaning of life.
So today, once again, let us open our hearts to the light of Christ and the love of God.
Let us walk with him in friendship and holiness. Let us share his light and serve our brothers and sisters — so that everyone will know his love and the new life he offers us.
This is the joy of Easter! It’s not just winning the Final Four, or March Madness, whatever you want to call it. The joy of Easter is knowing the God loves us. Loves you personally and me personally. Joy is knowing that our lives have a meaning and a direction!
My dear brothers and sisters, heaven for us begins right here on earth. Right here at this empty tomb of Jesus.
Let us never forget that if we stand with Jesus — if we follow him — he will stand with us. If we go with Jesus, he will accompany us along every path of our journey.
And let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to accompany us along the road of heaven that starts right here as we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Happy Easter to all of you and I pray that this will be a time of love and sharing — and hope and joy for you and your families.
1. Readings: Acts 10:341, 37-43; Ps. 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Col. 3:1-4; Marl 16:1-7.
2. Mark 10:27.