Easter Sunday - Homily 3

Homily 3 - 2016

If we listened to today’s Gospel carefully, it is clear that no one expected Jesus to be raised on the third day. Today’s Gospel even seems to question whether the disciples expected Jesus to rise at all, even whether Jesus himself had talked about it. “Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead” – which makes the beloved disciple’s act of faith even more remarkable. He had not seen the risen Jesus, only the empty cloths, and we are told, “He saw and he believed.” The eyes of love can “see” what the unaided human eye cannot. Might that suit your situation, and mine, vis-à-vis the reality of our faith?

Resurrection is good news. It is great news. It was great for Jesus. As Paul put it in  today’s Second Reading from Colossians, Christ is now “sitting at God’s right hand.” In scriptural code, that means, sharing in God’s divine power, of which, until now, he had totally emptied himself when becoming human and dwelling among us. The resurrection of Jesus is not the same as Jesus, as it were, becoming divine. The resurrection happened to Jesus’ humanity; it happened to Jesus, the man.

The resurrection is great news for humanity, for you and me. As Paul said regarding us disciples, “Now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God.” That would be simply incredible – if it weren’t real. With Christ, human nature can now share in the life of God. We have been introduced into the furnace of divine loving that unites the three Persons of God. It is up to us whether we choose to draw on that capacity; and we need, as it were, to learn how to. But the possibility is there. It is what God dreamed of for humanity when he created the cosmos 13.7 billion years ago.

Do you remember the beginning of John’s Gospel? In the old days, it used to be read at the end of every Mass, In the beginning, the Word was, and the Word was towards God, and the Word was divine.  He was in the beginning towards God. The Word is the Second Person of the Trinity, the consciousness of God, or the expression of the incomprehensible mystery that is God. It was the Word who eventually became human as Jesus.

With the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, the process of creation began; and the process of evolution has been moving towards Resurrection ever since. Everything came into being through him, and nothing that came into being came into being without him. For billions of years, the cosmos was bursting with energy but it was lifeless. It did not stay that way. In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. Eventually human life evolved – and things got interesting. Actually, humanity came on to the scene comparatively recently. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, and the world did not recognise him. Scriptural time was even more recent. He came into his own and his own people did not accept him… And the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us. And then, about thirty years after he pitched his tent among us, came the Resurrection of Jesus. We beheld his glory, his glory as only son of his Father, full of love and truth.

With his Resurrection, has come also the possibility of our sharing in it. The long evolutionary process has finally flowered, and creation has all but reached its goal. Some did receive him; to them, to those who believed in his name, he gave the power to become children of God… from his fullness we have all received.    

There is more to it still. Where does our natural environment fit into all this? But that is enough for now. No wonder we can meaningfully wish each other, “Happy Easter!”