Eugene Burnand

Happy Easter!

On this Easter Sunday the Church hears the message proclaimed to Peter and the Beloved Disciple, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him.” (John 20:2)

Most of us after living for a while know the experience of grief, of losing a loved one, a close friend, a core person of our support system.  This is how the apostles and close followers of Jesus were feeling – but even with a greater poignance.  They were just beginning to believe that he was the Son of God.  They were just beginning to understand his mission and ministry as the promised Messiah.  And then – he was arrested, sentenced to death, and crucified.  They were left in utter confusion.

Then, Mary Magdala arrives with her news.  This is the group she encounters, struggling with a mixture of gloom, grief, doubt and fear.  But with Mary’s astonishing discovery – now once again all of their mixed emotions are mingled with hope.  They recall again Jesus’ confusing words: “Where I am going you cannot come.” – “You will not see me for a little while, and then you will see me again.”  –  “I will be handed over and crucified, but will rise from the dead.”  Could it be true?!  Has he indeed risen from the dead as he predicted and promised?!

Peter and the Beloved Disciple run with all of these mixed emotions to the tomb to discover for themselves what has transpired!

Is this not a beautiful image of the Church?  Let us run with Peter and the Beloved Disciple in search of the Risen Christ!

In some ways, the members of the Church are like the apostles after Jesus’ death – locked in our rooms with mingled doubts and fears.  We live in a world that still experiences too much hatred, too many wars, terrorism, oppression, and other abuses against human dignity.  We know the advancements of ideologies that seek to further distance society from the Gospel values, restricting the human horizon to things of this world alone, bereft virtue and morals, of a faith that lifts our eyes to the heavens.

Such indignities make many doubt the presence of God.  Feeling a lack of human love in the face of indifference people are led to question whether there is a God, or if God does actually love us, or “me, personally.”

But, for those who believe in Christ, this is why our faith is faith, because we are capable of believing in what is not yet seen.  Our faith leads us to a horizon beyond this world, and our faith in the Resurrection tells us that there is more to this life, than this life.  There is more to this world, than this world.

These words of St. Paul to the Colossians are so important for us today:

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

This is why we still run today in faith, with Peter and the Beloved Disciple in search of the Risen Christ.

At the same time, someone else is also running – because the Risen Christ is running also – in search of us – you and me!  He comes in all of his Risen Glory, to shine the Light of Life into the darkness of our lives, into the tombs we create for ourselves with our doubts and ‘little faith.’  He comes to lift us up from the life-situations that would have us doubt that there is a loving God.

So, up my friends, let us run in faith, with Peter and the Beloved Disciple in search of the Risen Christ!  He comes, that we may find him, in order that he may share with us the gift of salvation – the gift of a new life in him, that we may share fully in the glory of the Resurrection!

Happy Easter!