Over the course of this last week, there have been a lot of actions/movements in our liturgies: with palms on Passion Sunday, holy oils and the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday, the Cross on Good Friday, light and water last night at the Easter Vigil. In our Gospel reading today, we certainly seem to have a lot of movement as well: Mary of Magdala running from the tomb to Simon Peter; Peter and the beloved disciple running back to the tomb.
But with all of this movement, we can easily glance over the first line of our Easter Gospel account: that this occurred “on the first day of the week.” This is no trivial detail! That Resurrection morning was certainly a new day; the first day not just of a week but of a new creation. Even in darkness, the Resurrection casts a new and glorious light: through it we see things differently; and not only that, we become transformed. And so St. Paul can say to the Colossians, “seek what is above…For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God…you too will appear with him in glory.”
Like many of those first disciples, perhaps our coming to understand the depths of the Paschal Mystery happens gradually. Like they did, we can sometimes struggle in faith, sometimes find it difficult to embrace the mystery that out of any kind of suffering and death can come new life in Christ. This can especially be the case when we are in the midst of experiencing chaos and change, and with it, perhaps suffering or anger or frustration or resentment or even despair. And so then we need the glory of the Resurrection to shine on us and reshape us even more.
In Christ we are made into a new creation and formed into a new people. In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear St. Peter proclaiming the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. He gives a beautiful summary of the Christian faith. But what lies behind the scenes here is that Peter, a Jew, is sharing all of this as a guest in the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, those who—before the transforming presence and power of Christ—were “one of them” and not “one of us.” The light of the Risen Christ moved both in a new direction, bringing them together as part of one people, one Body.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there are certainly a lot of movements in our own lives—both externally and internally. Perhaps these movements are difficult and challenging. Perhaps it’s just a quiet stirring in your heart calling you to go deeper. In a moment we will renew our baptism, through which we have already died and rose with Christ and have become adopted sons and daughters of God. It is important for us to use this Easter Day to renew our faith/our trust in Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” And today we can rejoice anew, because in Christ we see and believe that self-giving love brings forth a new life that even death can’t keep down.
The Lord is always looking to help move us in a new and better direction, to more and more become the best version of ourselves. God has made us for greatness—a greatness to be found when our life is hidden with Christ in God. Wherever we’re at right now, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead shows that God can move us; that God wants a new life to rise up in us. There’s no reason to settle. No matter what might be going on in our lives, this day above all let us not be robbed of hope and glory, but truly be filled with paschal (Easter) joy—for Christ is Risen, risen indeed! Alleluia!
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