For this first week of Easter, Fr. Mike wants us to know how important we are to Jesus. When Jesus rose from the dead, the first people he encountered were Mary Magdalene and his disciples—the ones who believed in him. This Easter, because we believe in him, he comes to us first as well, and he tells us to go spread the Good News to the rest of the world.
In 1 Corinthians, St Paul writes,” If Christ is not risen then our faith is in vain”.
Easter Sunday is a Day of Great Joy because Jesus overcomes the powers of darkness to restore all humanity to new life in God. In the Orthodox Church people process into the unlit Church and one Candle is lit to the cry, “Christ is Risen”. Then slowly and steadily the light passes from one person’s candle to the next, until the Church is ablaze with radiant light. This lovely ceremony symbolises the way that Jesus comes out of the darkness of the Tomb as a Light to the World and how one by one His risen presence is transferred through us in the lit candles, one after another. So, we too are brought out into the radiant life of God when sin and death have been conquered giving us a joyous new beginning. Moreover, hope, that even though we die, we will rise again.
The narrative of what happened on this wonderful day will be read at Mass, so I will not try to record that here, except to share one lovely aspect of the story that I find very human and a little amusing. In St John’s Gospel, after
Mary encounters the empty tomb, she finds Peter and “the disciple Jesus loved” (coded language for St John himself, the youngest disciple) and tells them what she has seen. We are then told by St John in his Gospel, that the
two disciples” run” to the tomb, ” but the other disciple” (John) outran Peter. However, he waits for Peter “who was behind him,” to catch up before going in. If anyone thinks this story is made up, why would St John go in into such minute and vaguely humorous detail to describe what happened on that wondrous morning. What a lovely human touch!
My resurrected Lord, my hope is in You! Alleluia, You are alive and You have conquered all sin, all death, all evil. You bring forth new life to all who turn to You in their need. My Jesus, I do turn to You and abandon myself to You in Your death so that I may rise with You in Your Resurrection to new life. Breathe into me this gift of new life and allow me to begin anew. Jesus, I trust in You.
Reflect, today, upon the above line from the Responsorial Psalm for today’s Mass. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” The “day” we rejoice in is the new life God wants to bestow upon your soul here and now. It’s a new day, a glorious one, a transformed one, a resurrected one. New life must begin now and must become continually new and glorious as we journey deeper and deeper into the glory of the Resurrection. Ponder this “new day” and allow our Lord to bestow it upon you through the power of His glorious Resurrection from the dead.