The Egyptian pyramids are world-famous, especially of the ancient world. But they are gigantic tombs containing the mummified bodies of Egyptian Pharaohs. Westminster Abby is famous, and thousands visit it because the dead bodies of famous writers, philosophers, and politicians are entombed there. But there is a Shrine of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and pilgrims from all over the world visit a tomb there which is empty with a note at its entrance which says, “He is not here.” It is famous because Jesus Christ, who was once buried there, rose from the dead, leaving an empty tomb, as He had told his disciples earlier. Thus, Jesus worked the most important miracle in His life, defying the laws of nature and proving that He is God. He stunned the Jewish and the Roman critics with His Resurrection. It was the greatest comeback of all time. We rejoice today at this great and unique event by celebrating Easter.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in Me will live even though he dies” (Jn 11:25-26).
Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Christian Faith. It marks the birthday of our eternal hope. “Easter” literally means “the feast of fresh flowers.” We celebrate Easter with pride and jubilation for three reasons.
- The Resurrection of Christ is the basis of our Christian Faith. It is the greatest of the miracles, for it proves that Jesus is God. That is why St. Paul writes: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain; and your Faith is in vain” (I Cor 15:14). “Jesus is Lord; He has risen!” (Rom 10:9) was the central theme of the kerygma, of the apostles, because Jesus had prophesied His Resurrection as a sign of His Divinity.
- Easter is the guarantee of our own Resurrection. Jesus assured Martha at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in Me will live even though he dies” (Jn 11:25-26).
- Easter is a feast that gives us hope and encouragement in this world of pain, sorrows, and tears. It reminds us that life is worth living. We believe in the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus in our souls, in His Church, in the Blessed Sacrament, and in Heaven that gives meaning to our personal as well as our communal prayer.
The Resurrection of Jesus had certain unique features. We Know that Jesus prophesied his Resurrection as a sign of His Divinity: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn 2:19). There is no founder of any religion whose tomb stays open as that of Jesus. We see the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise on the empty cross and in the empty tomb. The angel said to the women at Jesus’ tomb: “Why are you looking among the dead for One Who is alive? He is not here but has risen” (Luke 24:5-6). However, the real proof is not just the empty tomb but also the real lives of the believers filled with His Spirit today! Look at the lives of some Christians in some countries and regions in different parts of the world who suffer and die for their faith and belief? Are they brainless people to undergo all of those unjust and unfair persecutions and sufferings? No, it is because they believe in an empty tom and an empty cross. Another unique feature is his own disciples’ initial disbelief in his Resurrection, despite his repeated apparitions. This serves as solid proof of his Resurrection. It explains why the apostles started preaching the Risen Christ only after receiving the Holy Spirit’s anointing on the day of Pentecost.
Easter challenges us to be people of Resurrection, meaning that we are not supposed to lie buried in the tombs of our sins, evil habits, addictions, despair, discouragement, doubt, or even death itself. Instead, live a life of joy and peace in the Risen Christ. Easter reminds us to live our lives as disciplined and transparent people in the spirit of Risen Christ. It reminds us that every Good Friday in our lives will have an Easter Sunday. It also invites us to look at the world from the perspective of the Risen Christ. Finally, today we are called to be bearers of the Good News of Resurrection, where we may have to die to our own dreams and aspiration, and put on the mantle of the Risen Christ and move forward joyfully and courageously, hoping for the best and hoping for our own day of Resurrection! Happy Easter to all!
Fr. Tomy J. Puliyan, MSFS
“ Holiness and Happiness through Wellness and Wholeness!”