At Easter, the Church resumes singing Alleluia at Mass. Our Alleluia celebrates the central events of the Christian faith, and the central turning point of human history. The resurrection of Jesus first revealed the victory of Jesus on the cross. Jesus fulfilled God’s promises to rescue Israel and all of humanity from the effects of sin and death. Easter reveals that God’s new creation has now been launched, with Jesus’ resurrected body as its first demonstration. This new creation will be completed upon Jesus’ return, when heaven and earth are fully joined. Right now, in this new Reign of God in Jesus, the Holy Spirit empowers us to join God’s project, to renew all of God’s beloved creation. And Easter reminds us that wherever we are in life, in whatever difficulties or messes we find ourselves, God offers us a new beginning. Alleluia indeed!
FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT
Today’s Gospel begins in darkness. Mary of Magdala comes to the tomb before dawn. She, then the two disciples, see the empty tomb, and are amazed and terrified. The passage stops before Jesus first appears, which allows us to pause and more fully notice their disorientation and confusion.
John’s Gospel has many images of the passage from darkness to light and from blindness to sight. When Jesus cured the blind man in John 9, and raised Lazarus in John 11, their transition to the light was gradual and difficult. The disciples, too, were often slow and resistant to understanding what Jesus was saying and doing, both before and after the Resurrection.
THE LIGHT OF EASTER
In the first reading, Peter boldly and clearly proclaims the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. Here it’s important to observe that Peter, in the verses just before his speech, was profoundly disoriented by a vision. The vision, contrary to assumptions from his heritage, suggested that the Holy Spirit is inviting Gentiles, without obstacles, into the Jesus community. It began to dawn on Peter that the gospel is for everyone, without exception. The barriers between peoples were being blown open by the Spirit. Peter began to see a new and brighter world.
Most of us, most of the time, try hard to protect ourselves from being disoriented. Our traditions and past experiences keep us grounded and secure. However, often we grow in maturity and insight precisely because we are knocked off balance. God disrupts us enough to open us to what God wishes to teach us. We move from blindness to sight when we are first disoriented by the light, let go of the comfortable darkness, and open our eyes to new insight. As we begin the Easter season, the light of Easter is indeed bright. Easter reveals a world of opportunities to care for others and an abundance of grace to guide and sustain us.
Today’s Readings: Acts10:34a, 37–43; Ps 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23; Col 3:1–4 or 1 Cor 5:6b–8; Jn 20:1–9