“I” Witness: Wk 1: First Witnesses, Easter Sunday!
The Resurrection means that the huge stone that separated the human race from God, the stone that stood like a wall between humanity and God was rolled away and now in Jesus Christ, the way to the Father is once more wide-open. It is as though a room was shrouded in darkness and Jesus rises to pull aside the curtain and flood the room with God’s light. Through the Resurrection of Jesus, God’s own life floods back into the world. Now, eternal life and eternal happiness are possible for all of us.
But, there is a doubt that darkens Easter. It is not a doubt that Christ rose from the dead. There is a mountain of evidence in the life of the disciples and of the Church that Jesus indeed rose. In fact, the burden of proof is on those who would claim the opposite. We see the disciples changed, walking in newness of life as a new creation, filled with the Holy Spirit. The evidence that they were changed by the Risen Christ is huge and convincing. I know you believe Jesus rose from the dead. That is why you are here this Easter Sunday morning. And many of you have told others about Jesus rising from the dead whether it be your children, friends, or family.
God bless you for being such a witness to Jesus rising from the dead. You are an I Witness! Not an E-Y-E witness because we were not there but an I Witness, because you are giving witness to Jesus rising from the dead by what you tell others and by the way you live your life, if you live like a true believer. Yes if you live like a true believer, teach and tell others about Christ, you are an I Witness.
But for many of us there is also a certain type of doubt. The doubt that casts its shadow over Easter is the doubt that you and I can really walk in newness of life, that we can become a new creation, that we can be changed and filled with the Holy Spirit. We might feel that the stone in our life is too massive, too big. That Jesus rose to new life is easy to believe. We doubt that we can rise to new life in him.
Can the God of Genesis, who separated darkness from light, who brought this entire magnificent world into being from nothing, make me a new creation and give me new life? The Resurrection says “Yes!” If God created the universe, he can surely re-create me.
Can the God of Exodus who delivered the Hebrew people from slavery and bondage deliver me from the bondage of sin? The Resurrection of Jesus Christ says “Yes!” If God could free the Hebrew people, he can certainly free you and me.
Because of the Resurrection of Jesus, we can experience the power of Genesis in our life. We can experience an Exodus from the bondage of sin in our life. The stone in our life can be rolled away.
Last night the Easter Vigil began in darkness. The darkness represents all that is devoid of light: evil thoughts, sinister motivations, terrible deeds, whatever is hidden and secret, deceitful and dishonest, divisive and abusive, immoral and sinful. It is the darkness of our world and maybe the darkness in our own heart.
Then a light was struck and broke into the darkness. As the light spread, the church was illumined by the light, and the darkness began to be dispelled. This should give us hope for our culture and for our world. The light that we have been given, the light of faith, can dispel the darkness.
We all come to Easter with our separate histories of failings and sins. The resurrection of Jesus assures each of us that we can have a different future. The Risen Christ is an immortal diamond casting his light in a thousand different ways and facets and colors, according to our need. He can bring to each of us the grace we need for our future.
Jesus created the Church to be the place where he will always be found in Word and Sacrament. Here, Christ dwells in his majestic Easter presence. No longer confined to Palestine, he is in countless places and in countless lives.
We will discover him where generations of Catholic and Orthodox Christians have encountered him, in the Church’s rituals, the Church’s preaching and in the Church’s life. If we are seeking the risen Christ in our life, we should not look for visions. We must seek him within the Church. Here is where the risen One, the risen Christ lives and moves today.
Be our guest. We invite you to come and be with us every week to experience the power of Christ here in this place during Mass. We come together as a family every Sunday, and Jesus waits for us here.
If we embrace Gospel living, living the kind of life Jesus teaches us to live, develop a personal prayer life, join the great Church for weekly Mass, we will notice the Easter light gradually entering our life, we’ll notice the stone in our life being rolled away, whatever that stone is. We may not find that all our problems will suddenly vanish, but we will find new strength and courage to work through them.
Easter is a time to discover a personal relationship with the Risen Christ within the life of the Church. It is a relationship that no one can ever take away from us. It will make us better and greater than we are and will never end.
We will come to see that all the promises of Christ and all the parables of Christ are for us and about us. What happened to the first disciples who experienced a re-creation and came to know new life powered by the Holy Spirit can happen to you and me.
Because of the resurrection of Jesus, Easter is the Sunday, the season, when the stone in our life will roll away. This is the Sunday, and the season, of the second chance for all of us.
With all of this in mind we have prepared a special Easter prayer for you. Let’s pray it together now.
After the prayer priest says: After Mass we have a card for you as a a gift with the Easter prayer on it so you can pray it with family and friends. Maybe pray it as a family before your Easter meal today. The card also has our Mass times on it, so you can use it to give to others and invite them to Mass here at Saint Mary.