At Easter we encounter the empty tomb with Mary Magdalene, John the beloved disciple and Peter. We encounter the empty tomb and ask, 'What does it mean for my own life?' Does Jesus rising from the dead impact me? As I see the empty tomb in the clothes as described by John, the beloved disciple, is that enough evidence for me to believe like John came to believe?
This Easter I invite us to contemplate and think about the cross as the tree of life. For now the light of the resurrection shines through the cross. What seemed like an instrument of torture and death, has now become our way to eternal life, the life of the resurrection with Jesus. So now we look to the cross and see the light of Jesus the light of the resurrection shines through the cross. So whenever we find our self caught in darkness, covered by the weight of darkness, we head towards the light of the cross. For now because Jesus rose from the dead our grace flows to us from the cross making it the font of all grace in the tree of life. So whatever we need to help us overcome the darkness is now found in the light of the cross. This is why the cross is the tree of life where we get the grace that we need to live our life. The greatest example of the cross now being the tree of life as what we experience at mass that Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist. The very author of life itself gives us his life into us so that we may experience life eternal with him one forever with him living in him and through him. This life that we receive from the tree of life far exceeds anything that Adam and eve saw in the garden.
Strengthened by the Resurrection (Same as Bulletin, video below)
This year, unlike last year, we are able to gather and share the joy of the Resurrection as a community. For some on a natural level this may bring a natural sense of happiness in not having to celebrate alone. For others, they may want even less restrictions. In either case, current circumstances should not kill our Easter joy, but our Easter joy should rewrite how we see these times. This current pandemic gives us the opportunity to look deeper within ourselves and see the joy in the hope of the resurrection. That Jesus is with us, in us. We have the joy and hope as Christians that with Jesus, we win in the end. In the end we radiantly live in the eternal glory of God with resurrected bodies.
In life the end of a story changes all the previous events. We understand them all differently in light of the ending. This is the reality of how we experience stories of redemption. The hardship looks different when there is triumph later. The frustrations we have now in our current times will look differently standing next to God in His glory. If we are preoccupied by these times and our worries, our attitude can be one of constantly questioning. Questioning God, the government, the church, we might say God why are You doing this? Why are You allowing this to happen to me? We can get so focused on ourselves and that can be dangerous for us. A recommended way of looking at these current times is to look to God and say, ‘I cannot wait to see how You will be glorified in this! I cannot wait to see the story that You are writing in this moment. I cannot wait to see how You call and invite me to be a part of that glorious ending.’ This is deeper than positive thinking, it is seeing God in the present, experiencing Him with us and in us. Not looking back to previous encounters with God, and not looking forward to when times return to ‘normal.’ But seeing God and allowing our minds and hearts to turn to Him and be filled with Easter Joy. Easter joy helps us to see God’s glory in these days and always.
This Easter we are reminded that God is in control, that He takes care of us. We rejoice knowing how the story ends, with His victory over sin and death. A victory that He won for us and calls us to participate in. Current circumstances should not kill our Easter joy, but our Easter joy should rewrite how we see these times.
We can pray together: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of hope, the joy in the resurrection. Let these gifts of hope and joy light up our entire life, let us not succumb to the darkness of fear. Fill us with new grace, peace, optimism, and joy, even in the difficult moments of life.
God Bless you all and rejoice in Easter!
Homily Recap from last Easter, 2020: