Happy Easter! Alleluia!! Glad you all are here.
In the Gospel we just heard St. Peter and this mysterious “other disciple whom Jesus loved”, get the shocking news from Mary Magdalene that Jesus’ tomb is open and empty. Peter and the other disciple run to the tomb to see what is going on. The other disciple outruns Peter and arrives first, but he waits outside. Peter finally shows up and goes in the tomb. There is nothing there but the burial clothes neatly rolled up.
Then John tells us, “the other disciple also went in, …, and he saw and believed.”
WHAT DID HE SEE? There was nothing there except the burial clothes. No body, no Jesus, no angel, no witness to the resurrection. Yet says St. John, “he saw and believed.”
Obviously, what this other disciple saw was not seen with his eyes. He was not even seeing with his mind. He was seeing instead with his heart. He was seeing with the eyes of faith. He saw and believed. He believed in the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
It was a risk. It was a leap. It was, in an earthly, pragmatic calculation of things a kind of risky, even foolish thing to do.
This Easter we are called to be foolish like St Paul, and like that beloved disciple at the empty tomb.
We are called to risk seeing, seeing not only with our eyes, not only with our minds, but especially with the eyes of faith. Saint Paul in our second reading urges us, “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” We are called to see, to think, in a new way. Not the way of calculations of merit and earned rewards, not the way of our accomplishments and our own goodness, not the way of cost-benefit analysis, but rather in the whole new way of FAITH.
The Faith that we hear St Peter preach in our first reading: “That everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” Forgiveness of sins is shorthand for a whole new way of life.
Alleluia! Forgiveness of sins through his name. No more regrets. No more guilt. No more shame. Only gratitude at being set free to live a new life: a life of integrity, of compassion, of justice. A life worthy of a daughter or son of God.
That is what the Resurrection of Jesus offers us. It begins NOW. Not when we die, not in some distant future, not in heaven, but right here and now. Forgiveness of our sins sets us free to live as the children of God. Because Jesus has conquered death. Jesus has vanquished sin. Jesus has triumphed over all the forces of evil. They had done their worst, and they could not even keep Him in the ground.
Jesus is victorious! Jesus LIVES! He has been raised up! ALLELUIA!!!