Delivered at Corpus Christi Catholic Church for both the Great Vigil of Easter and for Easter Morning:
I would like to take a little trip with you tonight/today.
I think, for many of us, Easter Sunday is special; yet it is also comfortable. We grew up with the idea of a Savior who was raised from the dead; we are used to the idea that Jesus was dead and rose to new life. It is not ‘new.’
Let us take a journey back to the Early Church, shall we, and place ourselves into the person of Peter, of John, of Mary Magdalen, or even the Blessed Mother, or some of the disciples who had come with Jesus to the Passover Feast in Jerusalem.
Last weekend, we journeyed in to Jerusalem with Jesus, laying our cloaks at His feet; there was great expectation that He was going to establish the new kingdom. And the rest of the week, we were watching, waiting, expecting something great to happen. The tension in the air was so palatable, we could feel it…
The days went past and that tension only grew stronger. The feast was beginning, the Passover Lambs were being slaughtered and prepared for the Great Feast. That meal starts with the greatest question of the Old Covenant: ‘What is different about this night?’
If we were lucky enough, we were there at the Last Supper. Jesus gives us His Body and Blood! He takes that towel and washed our feet! That cryptic message between Jesus and Judas… What was that all about… Surely this is when His Hour has come!!!
And we go out to pray in the Garden, we could see (and smell!) the Temple across the valley. JUDAS!!!! He’s betraying Our Lord with a kiss?!?!?!?!
Now is the time!!! But up a fight, Jesus!!!!
How can he just stand there and be arrested… He’s walked out of situations like this so many times… What can be going on? Don’t do this, Lord!
Friday, and the crowd is getting all stirred up into a tizzy and a fit.
NO!!! They are going to Crucify Him? What did He do to deserve this?
He’s dead. Laid in the tomb. Hearts are broken, dreams crushed…. now what? Do we go back to the beginning? I’ve spent three years of my life with Him, I thought He was the one….
Put your self there. Sit just a moment with all that angst, all that turmoil, all that confusion, pain, suffering, expectation…
Now, we come to the tomb, the stone is gone!!! The tomb is EMPTY!!!!
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!!! He was right! It’s so incredible, hard to even speak a word to express what has just happened…
THAT is what we celebrate. That is what we are baptized into. That is what we Encounter here tonight, Jesus, truly risen from the tomb and freed from the chains of death so that we can truly be called a son or a daughter of God.
Because of this, the Disciples are changed and those who were once so scared to even be seen with Him will all eventually give their life for Him.
How is waiting, desiring, longing, to change your life in the same way. This Easter, do not be afraid to be encountered by the Risen Christ.