HOMILY FOR EASTER SUNDAY: April 4, 2010

          Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ…Alleluia!  He is Risen!  Below are some passages from the Catechism about the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

             639 The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness.  In about A.D. 56, ST. Paul could already write to the Corinthians, “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve…”491  The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.

 

            640 “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.”493  The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb.  In itself it is not a direct proof of the Resurrection; the absence of Christ’s body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.494  Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all.  Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection.  This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter.495  The disciple “whom Jesus loved” affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there”, “he saw and believed.”496  This suggests that he realized from the tomb’s empty condition that the absence of Jesus’ body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.497

 

            Given all these testimonies, Christ’s resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as a historical fact.  It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.503  The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection.  Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (“looking sad”504) and frightened.  For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale”505.  When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, “he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”

Fr. Michael Phillippino
SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com 
 

 

 

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