Homily Easter Sunday Year B He is Risen

By 9:50 AM

Homily Easter  Sunday Year B

What did it mean to the first disciples of Jesus that he died on the cross and was buried? They should have remembered that Jesus had prophesied that he would be arrested, tortured, crucified but rise again. Because they didn’t want to hear the first part, they rejected both the dying and rising. So the prophecy of his death did not prepare them for the reality of the resurrection. As a result, they fled and abandoned him at his arrest. Judas betrayed him. Peter denied him under oath. Only John was brave enough to stand with Mary at the cross. He saw him executed and buried. Their hopes were frustrated. They were devastated, disenchanted, confused, fearful that they may be arrested as well. What does his death mean to us now?

What did the resurrection mean to them? First there was disbelief and fear—fear that he was disappointed with them and would chastise them. But, instead, they experienced joy.  Yes, they had previously questioned what does it mean to rise from the dead and not to die again like Lazarus.  They had no concept until Jesus’ resurrection of having a glorified body that is not limited by space and time.

Though the doors were closed, Jesus appears to them. He is different but the same. They do not recognize him at first. But they saw the wounds on his body; they heard his voice; they saw his affection for them. They experienced the forgiveness of their sins; the peace of God, the real presence of God interiorly and externally. They are confirmed as his disciples in spite of their shortcomings. 

What impact did his resurrection have in the lives of his contemporaries? What did Pilate, the High priests, elders and guards think when they heard the same message. They refused to believe. They chose to remain in their own convictions and sins. They rejected the truth because they were comfortable in the lies. They became more determined to destroy the followers of Jesus just as they did Jesus.

Because of Jesus’ resurrection; because of the fact that others’ lives were transformed;  because of the fact they told others, you and I have today heard the same good news: He is Risen. What does his resurrection mean to us now? How do we see and experience Jesus now? Do we recognize him in the breaking of the bread, in the proclamation of the scriptures? How real is our faith in the risen Lord?

What did the apostles do as a result of the resurrection? They were no longer afraid of what people would say. They were obedient to the commission Jesus gave them: “Go, baptize and teach.” They were confident that his promises were true: “I will be with you till the end of time.” They were full of joy and zeal for the Lord. They knew they were not perfect. They still made mistakes, but Jesus was the Lord of their lives and to him they committed their lives. In the power of the Holy Spirit the very works that Jesus did and said they would do, they did.

Why? They were witnesses of the resurrected Jesus who is Lord and Messiah. Their lives were forever changed.

He is risen and people must make a choice. What choice? To be like Pilate and the others by rejecting the messenger and the message. Or to receive the word but only give lip service to it, choosing to remain the same. Or to embrace it with our lives and to share it with others.

What are we doing as a result of the resurrection? What difference has his death and rising made in our lives? Can others tell we are a resurrected, Alleluia people? They were witnesses of the risen Lord. Are we witnesses of the risen Lord to anyone? When was the last time we witnessed our faith in Jesus to another person?

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