Theme: THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST AND OUR DEATH AND RESURRECTION WITH HIM IN THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM!
- Acts 10:34. 37-43;
- Psalm 117:1-2. 16-17. 22-23. R/ v. 24;
- Colossians 3:1-4
- John 20:1-9
A Happy and Blessed Easter to all of you! Today we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and our death and resurrection with him in the sacrament of Baptism!
The gospel today tells us that the Lord has risen from the dead! The gospel tells us that Mary of Magdala went to the tomb early Sunday morning and saw that the stone had been moved away. She ran quickly to Peter and John and told them that the Lord had been taken away and that she did not know where they had put him.
Peter and John ran quickly to the tomb. John reached the tomb first, but did not go in. He bent down and saw the burial cloths on the ground. Peter reached the tomb later and went straight in and saw the burial cloths on the ground and also the cloth that covered Jesus’ head rolled up in a place by itself. John then went into the tomb and saw and believed!
The burial cloths on the ground and the cloth that covered Jesus’ head tell us that the Lord was not stolen by his disciples, but the Lord had risen from the dead; if not, the burial cloths would not be on the ground, but would be taken away, and the cloth that covered Jesus’ head would not be rolled up in a place by itself! Indeed the Lord has risen from the dead!
The first reading tells us that Peter and the Apostles were witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord! They ate and drank with him after his resurrection and they spent forty days with him after his resurrection! (Ac 10:41o; NJB)
More importantly, the first reading tells us that Peter and the Apostles proclaimed the good news of the Lord’s death and resurrection and that whoever believes in him will have their sins forgiven in his name in the sacrament of Baptism! That is why in the Bible, immediately following this first reading, is the “Baptism of the first gentiles”! (Ac 10:44-48; NJB)
The second reading tells us about the sacrament of Baptism! (Col 2:12; NJB) The second reading tells us that in Baptism we have been brought back to life with Jesus Christ and that is why we have to look for the things of heaven! Our thoughts must be on heavenly things and not on the things of the earth, because we have died with Christ and our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. But at the second coming of Jesus Christ at the “parousia”; Jesus Christ will be revealed in all his glory and we will share in the fullness of his glory! (Col 3:4b; NJB)
The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Thus we responded three times:
“Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” Alleluia means Praise the Lord!
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to praise and thank God for his infinite love! The second stanza tells us that the Lord saves us from death! The third stanza tells us about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Thus we read in the third stanza:
“The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.” (Ps 117:22; Mt 21:42; Ac 4:11; CSB)
And it is all God’s work! Thus we read again in the third stanza:
“This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.” (Ps 117:23; SM)
That is why we give praise and thanks to God in the response:
“Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!”
That is, “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!”
We will now renew our Baptism! We will renew our Baptism with the light of Jesus Christ! The light of the Resurrection! The light that has destroyed the darkness of sin and death! The light that has destroyed the Devil! The light that has destroyed Satan!
The light of Christ is the light of faith as opposed to unbelief which is darkness, the light of Christ is the light of life as opposed to death which is darkness, and the light of Christ is the light of good as opposed to evil which is darkness! (Jn 8:12b; NJB)
More importantly, the three themes are related! For it is in faith that we receive the new and eternal life from God and the life from God is good, because only God is good!
Most importantly, Light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death, and good will overcome evil, because Jesus Christ has overcome the Devil! Jesus has overcome Satan!
And the new life that Jesus gives is even better than the old life before sin! Thus we sing in the Easter Proclamation:
“O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”
We will light our candles from the Easter candle and we will profess our faith in God by answering “I do” to six questions! The first three questions reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises; because Satan tells us not to believe in God! The second three questions profess our faith in God the Father who created the world, God the Son who saved the world, and God the Holy Spirit who continues to sanctify the world!
After that we will be sprinkled with holy water, that is, the waters of baptism, the waters of the Holy Spirit! And we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new and eternal life of Easter! A Happy and Blessed Easter to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.