April 4, 2021 — Easter Sunday—The Resurrection of the Lord
ACTS 10:34a, 37-43; PS 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; COL 3:1-4; JN 20:1-9
Today, we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ! This event is the greatest event in our Catholic faith. It is through the resurrection that Christ defeated sin and death and opened for us the gates to eternal life. All of God’s promises are fulfilled through this glorious event. We have been preparing for 40 long days, through prayer and penance, so that we might be better prepared to receive Christ this day, and to better prepare our hearts to one day rise with Christ in eternal life. Today, we do not fast, but rather, celebrate and rejoice because of our great and merciful God!
The meaning and joy of Easter is not just a “one-day” affair, but is an essential element of our Catholic faith. We are called to live out the joy of Easter all year long. Our readings today reveal how we can do this here and now in our day-to-day lives.
In our First Reading, St. Luke preaches the Good News to us. He gives a synopsis of Who Christ is and what He did for us. He opens the door for people to partake in all that God wants to give us by saying, “everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” He radically educates and invites people into a life with Christ.
St. Luke’s vocation was to evangelize to the ends of the earth, and as Catholics, that is our vocation, too. If we step back and think about how incredible our faith is, how could we not want to share this goodness with others? Oftentimes, we can focus on life’s many hardships, but if we recognize how truly blessed we are — we have a God who died and rose for us, and we have the most intimate way of receiving Him through Holy Communion — then we can become a people of joy, an Easter people. And if we are living our lives with this joy, then every moment becomes a moment of evangelization — how we greet people on the street or in our parish; how we do chores around the house; how we respond to our spouse. We are blessed with the knowledge of our faith — it is our job to faithfully share it in word and with the witness of our lives.
Our Gospel portrays the third day after Jesus’ death when Mary of Magdala visits Jesus’ tomb early in the morning. Once she saw the stone removed, she ran to tell Simon Peter and John in fear that someone had taken Jesus’ body. Simon Peter and John ran to the tomb as well, and upon seeing, they believed. Each figure in our Gospel today “ran.” We can tell the relationship that these disciples had with Jesus because of the way they responded about Him. Mary didn’t see the empty tomb and think, “someone else will figure it out.” Peter and John didn’t hear the news and think, “I will check on it in a little bit.” They each responded with conviction as they “ran” for Jesus.
As we reflect on this Gospel, we must ask ourselves, “Do I have a relationship with Christ to the point where I am running to Him each day?” The way these disciples responded with willingness and eagerness is how we should respond to Christ. We must avoid complacency, and as intentional disciples, we must stop rationalizing our choices by telling ourselves we will someday get around to putting God first — “I am too busy now, but I will pray later” or “I will eventually get around to spending less on material things and increase my gifts to the church.” Every moment throughout our day is an opportunity to respond to God in gratitude, compassion and eagerness. And although there will be moments when we do not “feel” like responding to Him, it is in those moments when we faithfully respond anyway that matters the most.
Let us celebrate this glorious day with prayer and feasting, for Christ is risen! And let us strive to carry this Easter joy with us all year long by the way we live our lives and how we respond to Christ each day. Happy Easter!