After the anticipation and preparation of Lent, and the excitement of the last few days as we celebrated the Paschal Triduum, we come at last to the Day of Resurrection. And I’ve always felt that the Easter Sunday Morning Mass is just a bit of an anti-climax, following as it does, the intense drama of the Triduum which climaxed with the Paschal Vigil last night. I pretty much feel that we’ve done what we’re supposed to do, and now we deserve a bit of a rest. A nice lunch, a little horizontal meditation, and perhaps later an invigorating cup of Yorkshire Tea as we catch up on the Doctor Who episode we missed on TV yesterday evening. After the intensity of the Triduum, the Easter Sunday liturgy leads us into a more reflective mood, and we have the opportunity to consider what impact Our Lord’s Resurrection has on our lives, and how we should respond to this great event.
It goes without saying that for the faithful Christian Jesus Christ is the centre of our life. By virtue of our Baptism we are united to him in a very special way. An anonymous early Christian writer expressed the intimacy of this union in very simple terms. He depicts the risen Christ addressing Adam, the first man, with these words: Together we are one undivided person… I myself am united to you. I who am life. And that’s not an exaggeration; it’s a straight‑forward statement of an awesome and tremendous fact. By nature we are children of Adam. By Baptism we are adopted children of God. And so we share in the resurrection. We have been given the gift of new life by virtue of our intimate union with Christ, and this intimacy has to be nurtured and deepened.
Every time we come to Mass and receive Holy Communion we are grafted more firmly into the living Christ. Together we are one, undivided person. And this Easter Mass should make us eager to be more effective extensions of Christ, more dedicated heralds of the Resurrection.
The readings for today’s Mass indicate some of the things expected of Easter People.
Firstly, those who believe in the Resurrection must be prepared to openly profess their faith; to be living witnesses of what we believe in. Like Saint Peter and the other Apostles we should be zealous in our efforts to lead people to Christ. Our faith should be a source of life not only for ourselves, but also for others.
The New Testament writers were very conscious of the Christian’s extraordinary dignity; they constantly remind us of the nobility of our status. They consistently insist that fidelity to our baptism makes on‑going demands on us. Worldly attitudes and worldly life styles have to be discarded. And it takes courage to make a radical break with the past. It takes courage to be different – it takes courage to be a Christian in fact, as well as in name.
But can we realistically aspire to live in accord with our new life? Well, the Collect of this Mass assures us that we can. The Spirit that is within each one of us empowers us to renew our lives and to live in accord with our new life. By being responsive to the Holy Spirit we can even now experience a foretaste of the life to come.
The Gospel underlines the response of Saint John to the empty tomb and to the folded burial cloths. Saint John wrote his gospel for the people of his own time and he presents the Beloved Disciple as the ideal Christian. He was asking the Church to accept him as the model for an authentic response to the Resurrection.
I’m sure that many people who have driven past Catholic churches over the past few days must have wondered what was going on. What are those Catholics up to? Many in our community have no understanding of what we have celebrated this week.
We have all heard the Word of God proclaimed to us; spoken to us as a community and as individuals. Does that living Word arouse in us a response in faith, a faith animated by a loving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as members of his One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?
I wish you all a very happy and holy Easter.