Alleluia! Alleluia! He is risen – the tomb is empty! This is the day of great rejoicing for our salvation has come. The gates of Heaven have been opened for us and our sins have been forgiven.
These words are very familiar to all of us. They form the very core of our Faith. But do we really understand all they mean and just how significant they are for us?
The fact of the empty tomb – that Christ is truly risen from the dead is the most important and significant belief of our Faith. St. Paul says that if Christ did not rise from the dead, all that we do and believe is in vain. How true! If not for the empty tomb, the life and death of Jesus, His suffering on the cross, would mean nothing more than any other mortal man’s life and death. But, He rose from the dead, body and soul, and He lives. We have eyewitness accounts of Jesus after he rose from the tomb. He was not just a spirit, but was present body and soul. Thomas did not put his hands into a spirit, but into the real wounds of Jesus. Jesus ate and drank with his apostles a number of times after the resurrection. Pure spirits do not eat and drink. So we know, we have the proof.
Again, what importance is that to us today? Today we gather as the people of God, as followers of Christ, to celebrate His resurrection in our lives today. This is not just a historic event that took place over 2000 years ago. It happened today for each of us. We have been saved by the fact that Jesus took our sins upon himself and suffered and died for each individual – NOW. And just as He died for our sins, He also rose from the dead for us. By His resurrection, we also rise from our own tombs, from the death of sin.
At the Mass of Christian Burial, the opening prayer says that the person at Baptism died with Christ and rose with Him to new life. That is what today is all about. Just as Christ died for our sins, we also die to sin. But just as He rose from the death of sin, we also rise with Him to a newness of life in Him. He has earned salvation for each one of us, if only we ask for it. If only we reach out to Him and accept His love and life. He embraces each of us in love and care. He is a God that pursues us and, just like the lost sheep, He goes in search of us until He finds us and brings us home. Perhaps He has brought some of us here home today.
Today is a day of great rejoicing. Today in this Church and at this Mass, Jesus reaches out to each of us and offers us eternal life and happiness with God. Let each of us respond to that invitation. Let each of us respond today and every day, “Here I am Lord, I come to do Your will.”
HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!!!
Fr Gerald Biñegas RCJ
Image courtesy of turnbacktogod.com