Homily for April 24, Easter Sunday, cycle A
Christ is risen!
What joyful words for us to say after so many weeks of Lent, and after reliving the darkness and suffering of Holy Week. In some places in the world, there is a tradition of using the phrase, “Christ is risen!” as a greeting between Christians during the Easter season, to which the response is, “truly He is risen!” Let’s practice that: “Christ is risen!”
It’s good for us to say those words out loud and in public, because it helps us to realize that what they say is true: Christ is truly risen. Jesus Christ is truly alive today, with His human body which rose from the dead and was transformed in ways we can only begin to understand.
As we will continue to hear at Mass over the coming days, we know His body was really the same human body that was crucified, because He could eat and drink with His friends like before, and He still had the marks of His crucifixion in His hands and His side. However, His body was also transformed, because He could alter His appearance to go unrecognized, and go wherever He wanted regardless of physical obstacles. Unlike Lazarus and the other people He had raised from the dead during His public ministry, He Himself would never die again. As St Paul explained for us elsewhere, Jesus after the resurrection is the model of what we will be like when we are raised from the dead on Judgment day.
It is hard for us to understand these things, and it can be hard for us to believe in a way that leads to practical consequences in our lives. Even the apostles and friends of Jesus had a hard time believing it, and they saw the evidence first-hand! It should be no surprise that it might be hard for us to say, “Christ is risen” out loud in a public place. It took the coming of the Holy Spirit fifty days after the resurrection to get Peter and the others to publicly proclaim the Good News that Jesus was alive and had died to save everyone from sin.
But we do believe. We believe that Jesus is risen and has shown us that, no matter what we suffer in this life, there is light at the end of the tunnel. This life is not all we have, and death is not the end. For those who believe in Christ and do their best to be faithful to Him, the light of the resurrection gives hope and joy. Being faithful Christians means carrying a cross, but it also means the promise of eternal joy in heaven with Jesus Christ, truly living God and Man. So let us rejoice today, and throughout the Easter season, and every Sunday, for this great gift.
Christ is risen!