When Mr. Graham Stains an Australian missionary, who along with his two little sons, Philip (aged 10) and Timothy (aged 6), was burnt to death by a gang of a Hindu fundamentalist group named Bajrang Dal in Orrisa, India on the 23 of January, 1999, his widowed wife Gladys and his daughter who had to live with this colossal tragedy, expressed their faith in the new life thus, when they sang in a memorial celebration:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow…Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future ….and life is worth living – just because He lives.
Yes, dear brothers and sisters in the Risen Christ, here is a piece of stong evidence that Christ is alive and active….
One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage.
The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Christ and to know him personally as our Lord and Savior.
Perhaps the question we may ask today is: Do we accept the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection with sceptical doubt and disbelief or with trusting faith and joyful wonderment?
In our lives, for most of us, the period between good Friday and Easter Sunday lasts much longer than three days. Doubts about lives and our world, fear for the future at this time of Virus and of sickness, pain and dying, preoccupation with the trials of own lives often make Jesus’ trial and death seem long ago and far away.
The contrast between the noisy world we are accustomed to and the empty tomb can overwhelm us. But Jesus does not let us stay overwhelmed, any more than he remained dead.
What does the empty tomb mean? What can we learn at Easter? We learned at good Friday that all of us, even son of God, must die. Good Friday also teaches us that without Jesus our lives are empty and our world is lost. But Easter teaches us the same lesson it taught Mary Magdalene and Peter and John: Jesus did not cease to exist. He is alive, he is with us. We can turn to him in our doubts and he will calm us. Jesus is more alive than ever, waiting for us to come to the tomb, to search him each day in the reality of human existence.
Jesus trusted in God’s power to raise him up. So, do we. Easter faith teaches us that only fools look into the empty tomb and see nothing. We look into the empty tomb and see our faith vindicated. This Jesus who was dead is alive. We who are dead to sin are alive in Jesus.
Mary, Peter and John, in quick silence and joy returned to their friends and told them what had happened. In awe and wonder they came to understand all that Jesus has done and all that he had said. His promise to them came to pass, as it will for all of us who make the pilgrimage through life: first suffering then new life. First good Friday then Easter, first death then resurrection. It is the pattern set for all time in Jesus.
Perhaps we may wonder what relevance the resurrection has at this point of time, at this age of science and sophisticated technologies and the dangerous virus that has halted the world.
it is relevant today because, by raising Jesus from the dead God has confirmed that the way of Jesus is the way of life for all time. Instead of giving Jewish ritual top priority Jesus placed human beings at the centre stage.
Resurrection is relevant today because it offers the hope of new life here and now. The magnificent message of the resurrection is that the tomb was opened while it was still dark. Let us believe that God is at work while it is still darkness all around us.
Resurrection is relevant today because Jesus has arranged this central way to unite ourselves with him at the eucharist, especially at this time through spiritual communion from our homes.
Let Christ’s resurrection inspire us to resurrect ourselves from our deaths of disappointment, anger, hatred, anxiety, fear and all negativity we face in our day today life. Because Easter tells us that there is a solution for everything even for death.
Let us believe that despite this sombre atmosphere all around, the grace and power of the resurrection is never denied to anyone who believe. For “We are Easter people and alleluia are our song!”