April 4, 2021 at St. Peter the Apostle & St. William Parish in Naples, FL
Acts 10, 34, 37-43 + Psalm 118 + Colossians 3, 1-4 + John 20, 1-9
There was an empty tomb, that’s for sure, and nobody seems to have denied it. For some there was no Christ to be found, yet for those whose testimony we hear today and, in the weeks, to come, there seems to be no doubt that he has risen from the dead. The change that came over those witnesses is unmistakable. After fifty days, at Pentecost, what came over them is nothing less than astounding. They had come to realize that while he had departed from them he had returned to them in their hearts. He left, but he is here and because of it, we are here. The power of the resurrection is not something to be experienced when we close our eyes in death or when Christ comes again. It is now.
The birth of God’s Son in time and in human flesh and blood shows us that we have within us because of our blessed human nature God’s loving presence. The Incarnation, the coming of God’s Son into human life is a powerful gift that can allow us to see God in all creation and in every other human being. God is one with God’s people is the mystery and the message of Jesus Christ. This is not something we earn or deserve. It is a gift of love from the source of love, and the gift transforms us into what we were meant to be, God’s dwelling place.
With the resurrection, we are drawn deeper into this wonder of God’s friendship. The very living glorified presence of Christ shows us that we too are much more than we sometimes think and show to others. There is about us depth and purpose that goes far beyond what we have, where we live, and what we look like. The resurrection touches the very core of who we are. The resurrection touches our very identity and our purpose for living from day to day as breath by breath we are transformed into Christ. We can’t stop it or resist it and remain in existence. It is what we were created to be and called into life to become.
The divinity of Christ in human nature brings us the corrective that we need to lift us above selfishness and sin. It turns us away from ourselves and awakens us to the divine spark, the divine life, the divine breath that is within us. What we can celebrate today is that living presence of Christ pointing us to what we need in order to live in the Kingdom of God. Christ is not sitting somewhere up in heaven like some observer or some judge measuring what we say and what we do. When we proclaim that Christ has risen, we are proclaiming that he lives within us. By that faith, we can see, we can think and we can act as Christ, but it is not automatic. We must make a choice to act on the power within us.
What a real celebration of Easter demands is that we have begun to claim our identity as men and women chosen by God. Embracing that truth changes everything, and then everything we do has depth and greater meaning. God’s perfect love lifts us up and transforms us into what we really are not who we want to be or think we need to be.
Let this Easter celebration that draws you into this space and into this company give us all a fresh new way to think about Christ and God’s love for us. May it give us a new way to think about who we are and why so that we may come to realize how important it is to preserve or restore our relationship with God and all God’s children. This is the real cause for Joy today, and it is an even greater cause for us to work all the more tirelessly for the sake of the Gospel working to rid this world of injustice, making sure that everyone has a home and deserves defending at all costs because of the dignity and sanctity of every single human life. It is all because we believe that Christ is risen, and we find him and see him now in all creation and all of God’s people. This is ultimately what we mean when we say Christ is Risen, Alleluia.
Happy Easter, my friends. Like everyone else, I’m looking for Christ, and all I can find and see is you, and the more we come to realize who we are, that will be good enough for now and I won’t need to look into an empty tomb or any further than you living here with me.