This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad! (Ps 118:24)
Christ did not rise from the dead to show us what he, and only he, could do. Jesus rose from the dead to show us what he could do for us!
Christ, the Son of God, has risen from the dead. Alleluia! Everything he said came true. Everything he did is true! He has shattered the darkness and destroyed death; sin no longer has its sting!
One of the greatest lessons I ever learned as a seminarian came from a tiny town in Italy called Casale Corte Cerro. I was in charge of a group of fourth graders. Their assignment was to design an Easter egg and bring it into school. It was to represent the resurrection. All the girls did a beautiful job, no exceptions. The eggs they decorated were colorful on the outside and warm and fuzzy on the inside. The boys did a good job, except for one child. He had been the trouble maker all year long and had tested my patience on numerous occasions. He came with an Easter egg that was BLACK and dirty! I opened it and inside there was nothing! I told him in very strong terms how disappointed I was in him and demanded from him an explanation. With tears in his eyes and choking on every word he told me that the outside was black and dirty because the tomb must have been like that. On the inside it was empty because Christ had risen from the dead. He was no longer there. Now it was my turn to fight the tears back and choke on every word! He had understood Easter better than any of the other children. Darkness, Filth (sin), and Death no longer have to be a part of our lives! We have been saved!
We no longer have to fear the darkness! The most powerful prayer in the world, said by Jesus the Christ, shattered the darkness of the night! “Father, do whatever you want with me!” This prayer alone set the stage for the greatest story ever recorded and ever lived! We will never truly live our lives until we say this prayer; otherwise, we will be gripped with fear for the rest of our lives. This is the greatest prayer in the world because it was said by our Lord. It is the most powerful prayer because the Father always answers it with a yes. It is the scariest prayer in the world because it means to lay down your life for another. What holds us back? Fear of the unknown– darkness. But the Lord has a surprise for us! What will happen to the one who says it? It will make them a Saint! We too shall rise from the dead! The darkness of the tomb has been shattered by a single ray of light! “Come follow me, I am the light of the world.” The Lord has risen and shown us the way out of the tomb and into his light! We too shall rise with Him.
My filth has been removed! Last night we saw a young lady walk in the center isle of our Church and receive baptism. While she was walking alone, towards the baptismal font, we sang, in the most moving way, the litany of the Saints. St. Mary Magdala, pray for us! St. Augustine, pray for us! St. Ignatius, pray for us! That is, a former hooker, a former play boy and a former agnostic who will forever be known as children of God. The Lord has removed my filth, my sins. He has forgiven me. I no longer have to be known for my sins. By his blood he has washed me clean. By his resurrection, he has given me a new life! Regardless of what I have done, I can be a Saint!
O Death, where is thy sting? The Resurrection of our Lord is more than just his physical body rising from the dead. He has risen, spiritually, physically, emotionally, psychologically! Death no longer has a grip on him, Mary Magdala does! The Lord on Easter Sunday proved to us something he said over and over again: “Love.” Love is more powerful than death. Love is more powerful than evil. Love is more powerful than fear, resentment, bitterness, and anger. The same energy that created the Universe; the same force that created life will give it back to us one day for love conquers all, even death!
If you get anything out of this mediatation, I hope it is the realization of what is Christ's greatest scandal. It is not His resurrection, it is the fact that whatever you have done in your life; whatever sins you have committed, you can still become a Saint! This has never been an easy thing to accept. But the One who committed no sin is the One who told us this. If you feel like ending it all, if you feel like there is no way out, then ask the Lord and he will tell you, "Hey, I know the way out! I know the way out of the tomb. Come, follow me."
Lord, you are the light of the world. Be my light at the end of my life.