Sunday, April 1, 2018

Alleluia! the Lord is Risen!

Alleluia!  Jesus has risen just as He said He would!

Let's reflect upon that first Easter morn. On Friday, the women watched the Son of God, Jesus, their Master, die a torturous death on the cross. They were probably present in the crowd when Pilate had Jesus scourged and crowned with thorns; when Pilate asked the crowd whom he should release to them: Barabbas, a hardened criminal, or  an innocent man Jesus, King of Jews? The crowd shouted: "Barabbas!" "Crucify Jesus".  These same women probably met Jesus on the way to Calvary and stood beneath or near the cross with Mary, Jesus' mother.

It is now Sunday morning, the third day after Jesus' crucifixion  The women rush to the tomb to anoint Jesus body. On the way, they wonder who will roll back the huge stone in front of the grave.  To their amazement, they find the stone rolled back, the tomb empty, and the clothes in which Jesus' body was wrapped in burial neatly folded. Their fear: someone stole the body! Suddenly an angel appears and says to them:"Why are you looking for Jesus here? He told you that, on the third day, he would rise again. Go tell Peter that Jesus is risen and will meet him and the other apostles in Galilee!"

Peter tells us in today's first reading, Acts 10: 34a, 37-43, "We are witnesses of all that he[Jesus] did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man (Jesus) God raised on the third day and granted that he be us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead."

Imagine losing someone you love--a beloved spouse, a dear parent, a cherished sibling, an incredible son, a darling daughter--in a horrible crime, a crime you witnessed. And imagine three days later that someone who witnessed the death with you, comes to you and says: Your parent or sibling or your son or your daughter, or your spouse is alive and will meet you at such and such an address!  How would you feel? And how fast would you run to the designated place!

In the case of Easter morning, it is the Incarnate Son of God, God made man, Jesus crucified cruelly on the cross on Friday who rose from the dead and is alive on Sunday. "Go meet Him in Galilee,  the angel says, "just where He said He would meet you!" Crushing sorrow immediately changed into ecstatic joy!

Our Lord and God, Jesus, our Savior, is alive and dwells among us! The night before Jesus went to his death, Jesus left us the Eucharist, saying to those at the Last Supper and to us: "Take and eat! This is my body given up for you." "Take and drink! This is my blood poured out for you!" At every Catholic Mass, we have the privilege of receiving the body and the blood of Jesus, our sins washed clean by Jesus' blood and our spirits strengthen and nourished by His body!


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