This is the homily from Easter Sunday given by Deacon John (aka, my husband) at 6:30 am Mass.
In the Gospel, Mary goes to the tomb and what she sees there confuses her. I think confused may be a word to describe these last few weeks of Lent we all have lived through.
And then Mary says ‘the Lord has been taken from the tomb’ and she is afraid – still; again because this is not what she expected.
Where is Jesus?
I am guessing that some of us may have recently asked the same question – Where is Jesus? In this time of great need, where is Jesus?
The answer to our question is the same as it was for Mary – Jesus is risen!
Alleluia, alleluia, Jesus is risen!!
He is risen and He wants to be with us. And I am sure you want to be with Him. And you want to be with all the people you usually come to Mass with and then you want to be with the family and friends you usually celebrate Easter with. But we cannot be with everyone while we are sheltering in place.
This was not our vision as we began 2020 or even as we began Lent. It certainly was not mine. It may be difficult right now to have any vision. So instead of relying on our own vision, let’s turn to Jesus.
Jesus Christ was a leader with great vision. Through his ministry He painted a picture of a better future for what could be and should be in the lives of his followers.
Great vision always brings blessings and adds value to the lives of others.
To a people living in fear, Jesus cast a picture of living with dramatic faith and trust in Him.
In a culture where people thought their lives were meaningless, He told them they were light of the world and salt for the earth.
In a world of slavery, poverty, and oppression, Jesus showed them the way to live with radical freedom.
But on Easter morning, that vision seemed dim, in fact, dead. Jesus had been betrayed and beaten and then nailed to a cross and died a savage, brutal death. His followers fled in fear. By all appearances, his whole vision for a better future for his followers was over. And that should have been the end of his story. But we are here 2,000 years later recalling that vision, recommitting to Jesus’ vision.
In the book of Acts, St. Peter talked about Jesus, saying:
He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did.
Jesus went about doing good because He is The Son of God!
He dispensed wisdom that was more than uncommon; it was unparalleled and it amazed and astonished people.
Now many did not believe He was God’s Son and so:
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day.
The religious leaders, conspiring with the Roman authorities put Jesus to death. But He did not stay dead; three days later he conquered the grave. Jesus rose from the dead.
Easter is about a person and an event. The person is Jesus Christ and the event is his resurrection from the dead.
But Easter is also about us. You and me.
Jesus Christ’s passion, death and resurrection gave us our salvation. We have new life because He rose.
And then Peter tells us in Acts:
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
Peter and the other apostles came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection when they saw it for themselves.
Jesus rises from the dead, conquers the grave, defeats sin and death, opens the gates of heaven and saves us. For the next 40 days Jesus is with the apostles, investing in the vision he had for them, to grow his disciples and to build up the Church.
Peter goes on:
He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.
If that’s all true, doesn’t that change, well, everything? If that’s all true, doesn’t that change you? And doesn’t it just make sense to get to know this man Jesus?
Which is easy enough to do, or at least start doing by simply talking to Him, or listening to Him through His word.
Jesus has a vision for your life; He has a vision for your family to grow and thrive. He has a vision of you overcoming your fear, or standing up to addiction, or facing a diagnosis with courage. Jesus has a vision to heal your heart.
So, let us pray this week to commit to starting everything all over again this Easter. Let us get to know Jesus not as a religion, or a subject in school, or as a Sunday obligation, But let us get to know Jesus as a person, the person who has a beautiful and great vision for our life.