Fr. Dale’s Easter Homily

Easter Sunday 2024

March 31, 2024

Gospel:  John 20:1-9

Today, in this Catholic Church and in all the other Christian churches of the world; our Eucharistic liturgy is the most gratifying celebrations in our whole liturgical calendar.  Our church is decorated with more flowers than usual (lilies and poinsettias are not here 24/7); the choir is singing upbeat songs; most people are wearing their best clothes; there is a chance for some fellowship with friends we have not seen for a long, long, long while… 

Yet, none of us came here today for the scenery, the concert, the fashion show or the socializing.  We are here today because we are reminded that death was conquered ONCE.  Today, with all the Christian faiths that have spun off the root of Catholicism, we share in the hope that it will happen again… FOR USin due time… in God’s choosing… 

Have you even watched illusionists like Harry Houdini or David Copperfield in either the media or live at a theatre?  There is usually the one who puts a lady in a box.  Locks are secured.  The box is suspended.  The illusionist thrusts swords through the box.  When unlocked and opened, the lady was gone.  “HOW did he do it?”  Although we do not know HOW the trick was accomplished, we DO know that it was not magic.  There is a logical explanation for the disappearance for the lady. 

On Good Friday, many saw the wrapped lifeless body of Jesus laid in a tomb.  They watched a HUGE stone rolled into the groove before the cave-like vault sealing the only exit.  Sunday morning three people saw the same tomb.  The stone was rolled away.  The body was gone.  WHERE had the body gone?  There were three responses: Mary Magdalene thought the body was stolen.  Peter was puzzled, “Why would someone unwrap the body BEFORE stealing it?”  John saw and believed.  Our response to the empty tomb should make all the difference in the way we live life.  Does it for you?  What do you make of an empty tomb… if anything?

Christ is raised to new life by God.  The Resurrection is not a magic trick.  It was a feat foretold by prophets and accomplished by the power of God.  Peter and others ate and drank with him.  Mary conversed with Jesus.  We follow a risen Lord.  He is alive.  Bet on it.

Christ is raised.  We are raised with Christ.  Christ’s resurrection changes everything for all who lives before and after him.  When we die, we will not he held by death.  We believe through faith like John.  Eyes of faith help us see the invisible reality.  Believing is seeing.  

Christ is raised.  Our goal is eternal life with Him. 

Christ is raised.  Proclaim it.  We proclaim it with our words.  We are not responsible for the belief of the hearer.  Jesus was not always believed.  We will only be accountable for sharing the message.  Our message may not be popular or well received.  It is always difficult to go against the grain.  We may suffer, as disciples have, as Jesus did, for our faithfulness.  Doing comes out of believing.  Believing in eternal life makes all the difference.  When our words and actions match, we become credible.  People may not agree with us, but they can not ignore us.

A Dutch navigator sailing the high seas happened to come across an uncharted island in the Pacific.  He was just thrilled to land on it.  And this discovery happened on Easter Sunday in the year 1722… over 300 years ago.  Not surprisingly, the island was named “Easter Island”.  A well-known preacher used this bit of history to make a point.  He pointed out that we make a mistake if we regard Easter merely as an islanda nice place to visit once a year and then go back to the mainland.  Rather, he stressed Easter belongs on the mainland… your mainland is wherever you go… and with whomever you journey. 

Friends, the tomb is empty.

What do you have to say about that?