Easter Sunday - Homily 2

Homily 2 - 2015

I love the simplicity of Mark’s account of Jesus’ resurrection. It is clear, succinct; and says enough.

The three women who went to the tomb that Sunday morning had lost their faith - they intended to anoint the corpse of the crucified Jesus. Love was there, but not faith. The last thing they expected was an empty tomb. 

All the other disciples had lost faith, too. You might remember the young man mentioned in last Sunday’s Gospel, the one in Gethsemane after Jesus was arrested and carted off. He was wearing a linen cloth, but when grabbed by one of the guards, left it with him and fled naked. The anonymous young man was Mark’s poetic way of symbolising all the disciples. From the point of view of faith, they were left totally naked when Jesus was led away under guard.

So, on the Sunday morning, the three women disciples came to the tomb. It was opened, so they went in. Jesus’ body was not there, but there was a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side. Mark was back to his poetry. This time, the young man was a symbol of every post-resurrection Christian disciple, with the white robe indicating faith, and the right-hand side simply a state of dignity and intimacy. He knew the mystery: Jesus is risen! and he would tell whoever would listen.

Mark had begun his Gospel with the opening line: The beginning of the Good news of Jesus, Christ, Son of God. With today’s Gospel passage, he put the final full stop to the Beginning of the Good News of Jesus. That was Book One. Book Two is still being written, and you and I are significant actors in the plot – as have millions of others been, all those disciples who have believed in the risen Christ over the last two thousand years, and those who continue to do so today.

Jesus’ resurrection took place on the first day of the week, just as the sun was rising – the beginning of a new week, indeed, of a new creation. The sun is still rising. 

The task of the young man was to declare that Christ is risen. Christ is risen … ! What does that mean? We take it so much for granted that we have possibly thought very little about it. At least it means that he is no longer confined by time and space. He can be in us, and we in him – again, whatever that means. But if we reflect, I think that most, if not all, of us can assent to that. 

The young man in white told the women to tell the disciples, He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will find him. Galilee was the place where the disciples were at home. Our “Galilee” is wherever we are at home. We find Christ in life wherever we live it. 

We have met him in our Galilee; and through those meetings, Christ has become progressively real. And we have changed. Life takes on a different meaning when we know where we have come from, why we are here, where we are headed, and have some idea about how to get there – especially if we have found the courage to give his way our best effort and have learnt to rely on each other.

Since he has risen, Christ is alive in our world – wanting to be for us an inexhaustible source of inspiration, wisdom, vitality and courage. Sin, sadly, is still powerful; and we are confronted with its effects every day in our newspapers and on our TV screens. But it is not the whole story. And it will not win. If we learn to fine-tune our antennae, we become increasingly more aware of Christ in the most unexpected places.

On which note I wish you all a truly Happy Easter!