Acts 10:34,37-43; Psalm 118:1-2,16-17,22-23; Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9
FOR THEY DID NOT YET UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURE THAT HE HAD TO RISE FROM THE DEAD
The first Easter celebration was celebrated in doubt and fear because those who witnessed the events of the Good Friday were still in shock of the horrible experiences that Jesus went through.
▪If one finds oneself under anxiety, the fundamental thing it does is that it blocks us from seeing possibilities around us. It was in this great moment of anxiety and desperation that the apostles were when they heard the breaking news “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
Without thinking twice Peter and John began their marathon race to the grave to confirm this news.
▪It was a bad news for them because there was no trace of who took the body nor where it could be found. “What would become our fate?”, they asked. Have we laboured in vain by believing in this man whose body is nowhere to be found?
▪Who must have done this? But there was one thing they could not fathom well, why were the burial cloth and the cloth that covered His head separately folded? The person who did this should have taken both of them, why were they not taken? These among other questions were going on in their minds.
▪The Lord left the clothes as an evidence to them that what He told them about His resurrection had taken place. He was now clothed in glory and had replaced the burial clothes. They did not understand this, this was why the first Easter did not have the joyful Alleluia of our Easter today.
▪Later in the future, Peter testified as a witness that the events of Easter happened as we can see in the first reading. Their understanding had been broadened and they dauntlessly proclaimed that Jesus overcame the power of death. Even in the face of death they remained courageous proclaiming this truth about the resurrection.
▪Dear friend, it is still clear that many in the world have not yet understood the scripture that Jesus resurrected from death. This is evidenced in what the apostle Paul is telling us today that we have to seek things that are above by putting aside things that are old. If we do not love those who hurt or hate us, it is evidence that Jesus has not resurrected in us. If we still live in selfishness that others are starving around us, it is a sign that Jesus is still in the grave. If we prefer to be generous to preserve things while we neglect those who are dying in numbers, who are homeless in the world, who are living in poverty, it is a sign that we have not seen Jesus in these suffering humanity. Even after the first Easter experience of doubt and fear, we are yet to understand that the meaning of resurrection is that God dwells in our midst as a sign of love for the suffering humanity. May the power of resurrection raise us to look at things that are above, where Christ dwells forever. Amen
“Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord – each of us knows what they are – so that he may enter and grant us life.” Pope Francis, Excerpt from the Magnificat, Holy Week 2019, Vol. 21, No. 1, p. 267
Have a great Easter celebration
May God bless you with the joy of the Resurrection
Fr Joseph Chukwugozie Ikegbunam
Holy Angels Parish and St Mary’s Parish, St Albans, Vermont