CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA. HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA.
Then the disciple who had reached the tomb
first also went in, and he saw and believed;
until then they had not understood the
scriptures, which showed that He must rise
from the dead.
St. John 20:8-9.
Full readings: Acts 10:34,37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3: 1-4; St. John 20:1-9.
To-day is the Queen of all festivals. Truly Easter is "the Lord's Passover, the Passover, and again I say the Passover to the to the honour of the Trinity. This is to us, a Feast of feasts and a Solemnity of solemnities, as far exalted above all others ... as the Sun is above the stars." So proclaimed Gregory Nazianzen, and no-one would disagree with him. It is the most wonderful day of the year, there is not another day like it, because this is the day when we are truly liberated from everything negative: darkness, death, doubts, despairs, despondencies, diseases, and all kinds of disharmonies. Our dear Lord and Saviour has triumphed over all the worst that evil can do and manifest in this life. It is victory over every conceivable corruptible aspect of life which now enables us to aspire to all that is good, just and pure in this life. "It is a day the fullest of all good tidings, - as the seal and assurance of all the good news we heard before it." This exuberance of Easter is captured in the octet of this sonnet by Edmund Spenser.
Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day,
didst make thy triumph over death and sin;
and having harrowed hell didst bring away
captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
and grant that we for whom Thou diddest die
being with Thy dear blood clean washed from sin,
may live forever in felicity.
It is a day when all fears, doubts and perplexities are driven from us. As Mark Frank exclaims, "This is a day when perplexities cannot stay, fears cannot tarry with us, our heads cannot long hang down; the news of it is so full of gladness, of comfort and joy."
It is a day indeed over-brimmed with joy. On what other day do we feel so much joy? I am sure there is not another. On this day we explode with our happiness and gladness as we know that this earthly life although but transitory, is now full of hope and wonderful anticipation. The eternal which is already implanted us, will no longer have to do battle within us as we wrestle with all those worldly things which are not part of God's kingdom. We know if we persevere in the power of the Risen Christ in trying to overcome hatred with love, injustices with kindness, deceits with honesty, cruelty with tenderness, and bitterness with compassion, we shall enjoy for all eternity the wonders, joy and bliss of being with our Glorified Lord. To-day we are assured we too can triumph over death and darkness through our crucified and now risen Saviour. We are truly blessed!
For me, one of the most moving lines of scriptures, is when the angel who is guarding the empty tomb announces to the women who have come to anoint Christ's body with costly ointments and spices, "He is not here, for He is risen". Transfiguration - everything has been made anew. The old order has been replaced by the new. The old Adam in us is supplanted by the new! In this newness is hope, happiness and holiness. The Resurrection has made all of life glorious and wonderful. All is fresh; all is new; but all is eternal. "I have come that you may life, and may it have abundantly," rings out with every chime of every bell we hear on Easter day. Will we ever hear of a more comforting message? Will we ever hear of a more dynamic message? No, after all "To whom should we go, You have the words of everlasting life."
Easter assures us of eternal life; that eternal life begins when we are baptised. Please never think of it as something which belongs to the future. It is now with us. If we do not experience it along our earthly pilgrimage, then we surely are not going to taste it later on. The kingdom of God is within you, don't forget. The risen Lord lives within us now, and draws us to Him, closer and closer as we allow His Risen life to increase in us. Christ has risen! The Lord is risen indeed!
Easter further assures us that we shall henceforth live in the light because of Him Who is the Light of the world has eradicated all darkness. What wonderful gifts and blessings which come from the Light of Christ are manifested in this ancient hymn associated with Hilary of Poitiers.
O resplendent giver of light,
like lightning at Your command
the time of darkness is past
and daylight, regiven, spreads abroad.
You are the true giver of light to the world,
not as the tiny star,
which, harbinger of the sun's rising,
burns only with a feeble flame;
but brighter than the fullest sun,
all light and day,
You light up the deepest sentiments
of our hearts.
Assist us, O Creator of the world,
mirror of the light of the Father,
for our flesh is fearful of losing Your grace.
May chastity of mind
overcome the shameful passions of the flesh,
may the spirit preserve in holiness
the temple of a body that is chastened.
This is the hope of the soul in prayer,
these the vows which we offer:
that the light of the morning
may persist even during the night.
To-day is the most wonderful day of the year. Thank you dear Lord for freeing me from all kinds of tryannies through Your Resurrection. May I continually praise You for the gift of eternal life and all the blessings which flow from Your triumph over death, disease and all kinds of disorders. Alleluia! Alleluia! The Lord is Risen. Christ is risen indeed and triumphed over all the worst deeds that evil can do. Thanks be to God. Amen.