Dear friends in the risen Christ, the resurrection of Jesus attests to his divinity, as St. Paul tells us: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom 10:9). And Paul continues to tell us in the fifteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, that: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain; and your Faith is in pointless, and you are still lost in your sins…But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep”. We could probably have remembered Jesus as one of the prophets of old for his good works and sermons if he had not risen from the dead. Nevertheless, “Jesus is risen!”, and this is the central theme of our Christian faith.
Through the resurrection of Jesus, we see an attestation to his divinity and a fulfilment of his prophecy: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”(Jn 2:19). His Body which is the very Temple was destroyed, and in three days, was raised to life; little wonder the empty tomb became a testimony of this truth; this is what we see in the Gospel of today.
The Gospel Reading (cf. John 20:1-9) demonstrates how the disciples of Christ saw and believed in the resurrection of Christ; inasmuch as they failed to understand the Scripture at that moment that Christ must rise from the dead. And what they saw and believed in, is what they bore witness to in the First Reading (cf. Acts 10:34,37-43). Put differently, the first reading presents to us Peter’s speech to the household of Cornelius, which is considered a summary of the gospels—from the baptism of Jesus by John in the River Jordan to his death on the cross, which culminates in his rising from the dead, three days later (on the first day of the week).
Similarly like the early Christians, we come together on the first day of every week (a reminiscence of the resurrection of Christ) to celebrate the joy of Easter by “breaking the Bread” – the Holy Eucharist. As such, whenever we gather together like this to celebrate the holy Mass and share in the joys of Easter, St. Paul reminds in the Second reading (cf. Col. 3:1-4) to cast our minds and hearts above where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God, since we have all died with Christ, and our present life is hidden in the resurrected Christ with God.
Dear friends in the risen Lord, the resurrection of Christ reminds us that every Good Friday certainly has an Easter; after the storm (and rain) comes the sunshine; after the pandemic of COVID-19 comes a period of joy and peace; after our sufferings, sicknesses and challenges in this present age, comes the glory of heaven. Therefore, by his resurrection, we are called to share in the Life of Christ. As the tomb and death could not hold Christ captive, so also nothing would be able to hold us captive in this life, not sufferings nor sicknesses, not even the threat of COVID-19, since the Psalmist [Ps. 117(118):1-2,16-17,22-23] strengthens our hope “The Lord’s right hand has triumphed; his right hand raised me up. I shall not die, I shall live and recount his deeds.” Indeed, we sing and rejoice with the Psalm: “This day was made by the Lord: we rejoice and are glad”
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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