Easter - Fr. Pete Iorio
April 4, 2021 - 11:00 AM
The passage from John’s Gospel takes place on the first day of the week. This is reminiscent of the Creation account in Genesis. So, now again, God brings life in the garden where Jesus’ tomb was located. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark. In John’s Gospel, darkness represents a time of lack of faith. Mary is not expecting the Resurrection; she comes to mourn the death of Jesus. When she discovers that the tomb is empty, her first thought is that the body of Jesus has been stolen. She returns to the disciples and tells them, “we don’t know where they put him.”
When the two disciples arrive at the tomb, they find it just as she described it. I really like my namesake…. because like him, I don’t always “get it.” Entering the tomb, Peter seems to not understand, but the other disciple ... saw and believed. He understands what the others will come to know when the risen Christ appears to them: Jesus is risen. The burial cloths that were left behind are of no need to one who has conquered death.
The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the quintessential belief of the Christian faith. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we should all just go home and forget it. Like Peter, we don’t have to totally understand with our minds. Resurrection is best understood in the realm of the soul… and this deep knowing is reinforced in us throughout our lives.
The challenge of living this out is not just that of believing that Jesus rose physically from the grave, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, to believe that – no matter our age, mistakes, betrayals, wounds, and deaths – we can begin each day starting over afresh, innocent again, a child, a moral infant, stunned at the newness of it all. No matter what we’ve done, our future is forever pregnant with wonderful new possibility. Resurrection is not just a question of one day, after our physical death that we will rise from the dead, but it is also about daily rising from the many mini-graves within which we so often find ourselves.
How does belief in the resurrection help us rise from these mini-graves? By keeping us open to surprise, newness, and freshness in our lives. Not an easy thing to do. We are human and we cannot avoid falling – into depression, bitterness, sin, betrayal, cynicism, and the tiredness that comes with age. Yet our faith in the resurrection invites us precisely to live beyond these. As my first year theology teacher John Shea once put it: What the resurrection teaches us is not how to live – but how to live again, and again, and again!
The Easter season is a time of hope. There still is fear, there still is a painful awareness of sinfulness, but there also is light breaking through. Something new is happening, something that goes beyond the changing moods of our life. We can be joyful or sad, optimistic or pessimistic, tranquil or angry, but God’s presence moves deeper than the shallow waves of our minds and hearts. Easter brings the awareness that God is present even when his presence is not directly noticed. Easter brings the good news that, although things seem to get worse in the world, Evil has already been overcome. Easter allows us to affirm that although God seems very distant and although we remain preoccupied with many little things, our Lord walks with us always and everywhere. So there are many rays of hope casting their light on our way through life.
The Lord is Risen. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Pascua de Resurrección - Padre Pedro Iorio
Abril 4, 2021 - 1:00 PM
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