Easter Day Homily From Our Spiritual Advisor Fr. Anthony

My dear friends,

Today we celebrate the greatest of all Christian feasts: the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. It is the most solemn, holy and sacred Sunday of the whole liturgical year. In fact, all the rest of the liturgical celebrations during the whole year are oriented to, converge upon and arrive to this one Sunday.  The whole purpose and objective of Christmas, Lent, etc. is to arrive to this one beautiful and wonderful festivity and victory of Easter, our new spiritual birth. Christ’s victory over sin and death is absolute. All obstacles to our coming to Christ are now completely removed and totally destroyed. Our path to him is free and open. For this reason there is no reason for sadness, despair, and loss of meaning in our lives. Jesus is our Resurrection and Life and motive of our joy and peace. His victory is greater than all our problems, losses and suffering. Nothing is greater or above his victory on this Easter day. We will live forever with him in perfect and total joy.

Today’s Gospel is very beautiful and full of hope and deep meaning. It is worth the while to pay complete attention to each phrase.  “..After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb...” Mary and her sister did not realize that, with the death and Resurrection of Jesus, the old Jewish law no longer applied to them and they were freed from it. They had no longer any obligation to observe the Sabbath, but could have visited Jesus during it and not need to wait until Sunday. There are people who, being freed by Jesus from their past lives and sins cannot come to believe that they are really free. Some come and confess the same sins over and over again. It is too much for them to believe that Jesus really took away their chains. They continue glued to their past memories and old habits. It takes time for all of us to accustom ourselves to live and accept this original and daring freedom that the victory of Christ has obtained for us.

Secondly, the two sisters were searching for the dead Christ amongst the tombs and not the risen one. Many Christians live a melancholic Christianity of past memories instead of a vibrant and living Faith of a glorious Jesus. Dead, routine and lifeless liturgies have taken our Catholic Churches that no longer appeal to anyone nor attract others to it. These are the Catholics sitting by the tomb of the defunct Christ who will never rise from the dead. They will weep and cry by the hard stone with no hope or joy in their hearts. They have nothing to offer to the world in the sense of a new and living message for the hungry souls in it.

An angel of heaven however appears in an earthquake to shake up the women up from their faithless attitudes and stupor and torpid feelings. How many times God needs to send us angels of these types to shake us out our lukewarm lives and deadened faith. The angel rolled back the stone and sat on it. This is to say: “Look, do you see anyone in there? No real Christ is present in your dead and melancholic faith. It is all hopeless and illusory. It is hard as this stone and very lifeless. Christ is not present amongst the sort of belief and liturgy of moaning, groaning and wailing.”

“..His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow...”  Heaven has no comparison to the earth. Saint Teresa of Avila said that when we behold the incredible beauty of our soul that we will receive through God’s grace in heaven, we will become enthralled, ecstatic and enraptured by it.

“..For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men...” These soldiers who two days ago had humiliated, scorned, abused and tortured Christ now tremble in the presence of his celestial guards. All corrupt policemen who steal from the innocent and beat them unjustly or any others who enslave women or young people through sex, drugs, crime and prostitution will empty out their gall bladders and kidneys and soak their underwear when they behold the angels of God who will chastise them to no end for the iniquity performed towards God’s children on this earth.

“…But the angel said to the women, do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified, He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come see the place where he lay…” The angel enlightens the two girls and catechizes them. He also tells them to have no fear. The word “fear” appears 365 times in the New Testament, one for every day of the year. Jesus rose from the dead to take away all of our fears. What do our fears consist of? All of us, to some degree, fear death. With his resurrection, Jesus destroyed death and took away its power. It is no longer something to fear but merely a passage from this life to eternal life. As a child passes from the darkness of the womb to the light of this world, so death takes us from the womb of our dark universe to the light of heaven and eternity.

Some people fear emotional and physical illnesses and accidents. Jesus however, in his divine power, cures all sicknesses and infirmities and grants peace and consolation to our hearts. He is our security and comfort. Some people fear the future, unemployment or the loss of their friends and family. Jesus is the guarantee of our life and goods and protector of our loved ones. He himself declared that he is the Resurrection and Life. Jesus came to remove every fear from our heart and fill it with joy and peace.

A question arises at this point: How did Jesus come out of the tomb if there was a huge stone blocking it? The Resurrection of Christ gained for him a new and glorious body with wonderful qualities and properties. This new body could pass through stones, walls, concrete or any other dense physical object. Our resurrected body will have the same characteristics. Imagine a traffic jam and a glorious body passing through all the vehicles with the greatest of ease! Jesus, with his glorious body, could be in Galilee or Judea in an instant of a thought. With our glorious body, we can be in China, Australia or South Africa in a second with no need to fly a plane to the place. This is even better than superman who needs to fly through the air to get to where he is going.

It will be incorruptible and no longer subject to death, disease, aging or aches, accidents and pains. We will have no need to rest, sleep or eat and do what our present body demands of us constantly. It will be full of beauty, light and youthfulness with no ugliness to it at all. The nature and matter of our glorious body will completely and totally obedient to our soul and spirit.

On earth, people attempt to lose weight, become slim or trim. Others go to the beach to become darker or others, like Michael Jackson, undergo surgeries to become white. Still others undergo aesthetic surgeries to improve their noses, eyes, face, ears, breasts or bellies. There is no need of any of this with our glorified bodies. At an instant, we can change or modify it to anything we wish: shape, color, texture, size, form, etc. It is for this reason that the Apostles did not recognize Jesus. Mary could appear as a French woman in Lourdes, with Portuguese features in Fatima, Black in Brazil, Mexican in Guadalupe or Japanese in Japan, because of her glorified body.

The angel then commissions the women to spread the good news of the Resurrection to the disciples. This is the mission of every Christian: to bring hope and joy to all hearts that are without hope or joy, to spread the beauty, victory, love and goodness of Jesus to all those in need of it.

Why did the angel tell the women to have the Apostles go to Galilee to see Jesus? Galilee was a three day journey on foot and very tiresome traveling. Why did he not suggest seeing them in Jerusalem which was closer? Mary, Mary Magdalene, the holy women and Saint John the Apostle had followed Jesus right up to Calvary and were faithful to him. They observed their Lenten obligations and were worthy of the joy and peace of the Resurrection. They had no need to go to Galilee or purgatory.

The rest of the Apostles and disciples who abandoned Jesus were negligent in their Lenten obligations and had to start all over again. They would have to go through purgatory for their disloyalty and cowardice. Many Christians who are lax in their religious duties and indifferent to the practice of their Faith will not enter heaven until, through some other form or manner, purify themselves whether on this earth or in the next dimension. Nothing impure enters eternal life or the beatifying presence of God.

Peter had also followed Christ closely like Mary and Saint John, but ended up denying him. Many people also follow Christ closely but deny him in society when they approve of abortion, homoerotic activities, and other unjust practices and laws.

Enlightened by the angel, the women now start their evangelizing mission with joy and fear. Completely purified, Jesus now appears to them and wishes joy and happiness in their hearts.  Once everything is taken care of in our hearts and souls, only joy and happiness will remain for us and is the fruit of our life of grace.

“…They took hold of his feet and worshipped him…Jesus said to them: Do not be afraid…” To take hold of someone’s feet implies submission and reverence. Though this is good and praiseworthy, Jesus, in truth, would rather have us embrace him standing up, as a friend to a friend on equal status. Many people fear a friendship with Jesus and would rather just content themselves to worshipping him in a state of obedience. But Jesus calms our fear of him and encourages an intimate friendship of sharing and love. At the last Supper, he had told the Apostles that he no longer calls nor considers them servants, but friends to share eternal riches of love and goodness without any fear or servile attitude.

Father Anthony Mellace

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