Homily Easter Sunday 2023
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died and was buried, has risen from the dead. And in his resurrection, all of us, all humankind, all of creation is made new. Again the Easter story has been told. The followers of Christ who saw him die and mourned his death returned in the early hours of the morning to where he had been buried, and they found an empty tomb. And there they heard the words of God’s messenger, “He is not here. He is risen. Look for him among the living.”
And for two thousand years these same joyful words, “He is Risen”, have echoed from a million other tombs. Hatred, greed, violence, fear, all of the tombs in which we bury ourselves and one another have been broken open. They have no power to hold anyone. These tombs too are just so many empty shells.
And again, tonight/this morning, God’s word is sent to us, as it was to Mary Magdalene, “Do not be afraid”. And it is true, we have nothing to fear. God became like us. He lived a human life. He did the things we do, we felt the things we feel. He took upon himself the wager of all human sin and human failure. He took upon himself the worst that human beings can do to one another. He suffered the effects of human weakness, greed, violence, the ultimate human absurdity, death itself. But this tomb too, he left empty, so that with what St Paul would later call the great foolishness of Christianity, we can say that even death has lost its terror. All of life has been made new. Everything that happens to us has been revealed in a new light.
And we can see clearly now that there is no challenge so great that it cannot be met, no burden so heavy that it cannot be borne. We are all of us again tonight/this morning called to take up a share in the risen life of Christ.
In the Gospels, the glorified risen body of Christ was not a wispy spiritual thing that had somehow been drawn out of the stream of human experience. Rather the glorified body of Christ was very much a thing of flesh and blood, a thing that clearly bore as Thomas was to learn, the marks of Christ’s involvement with the challenges of living.
The mark of our resurrection, then, our baptism, is not how little involved we become, how far away we manage to remain from the daily tombs of human living, but rather how fearlessly and joyfully we enter them.
This is not only the day that the Lord has made, this is the world that the Lord has made, the world which he brought with him out of the tomb. Indeed, let us rejoice and be glad.