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Monday
Apr022018

Easter Sunday Homily-Fr. Andrew Lee

 

Happy Easter! Everyone. Today, Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Every living being rejoices with the risen Lord and praises the glory of resurrection filled with joy and peace. Let’s share the joy by saying “Happy Easter!” to the people next you. May blessings and graces of Jesus’ resurrection come down to your hearts and fill your lives with love and hope! As we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection today, we are pleased and delighted to remind ourselves that we moved from death to new life. As you all know, Jesus’ resurrection is the core and the culmination of our Catholic faith. Without the Lord’s resurrection, our faith means nothing. Why does our faith go for nothing without resurrection? It’s because there is no new life without resurrection. We have received everlasting life through Jesus’ resurrection. Therefore, this Paschal Mystery becomes the foundation of our faith.

Like I said, Jesus’ resurrection brings us new life and hope. In today’s Gospel, we hear how the woman and the disciples move from disbelief to belief, from darkness to light, and from death to life as they visit the tomb where Jesus is buried. What they find is an empty tomb. Mary Magdala goes there early in the morning, finds the rock rolled away, runs to Peter and lets him know this. And then Peter and the beloved disciple run there together and see the empty tomb. And then the Gospel ends with these words, “the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.” The first witnesses to the resurrection move from life to death and from disbelief to belief according to today’s Gospel. This is what we are experiencing today as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

As I reflect on today’s Gospel, I asked myself, “How do I fully participate in Jesus’ resurrection? How do I join Jesus’ resurrection?” And then one sentence caught my attention. “(Mary of Magdala) saw the stone removed from the tomb.” She finds the stone rolled away. I’d like to focus on the stone that is rolled away where Jesus’ resurrection happens and the Paschal Mystery accomplished. Jesus rolls the stone away and goes onto new life. Therefore, the stone was the wall between death and life and it must be moved away for the resurrection. I think many walls or barriers keep us away from the resurrection. They must be rolled away.

When I was young, I enjoyed a fairy tale, titled “The Selfish Giant.” You must know the story. I think it is a beautiful tale. The children go and play in the Giant’s garden. It is a large lovely garden with soft green grass. There are beautiful flowers and birds and the children playing their games. One day the Giant comes back after a seven-year visit to his friend. When he arrives, he finds the children playing in the garden. He kicks them out saying, “What are you doing here? Get out. This is my garden.” And then he builds a high wall all round it and puts up a warning notice. The poor children now had nowhere to play. Then the spring comes but only to the garden of the Giant, it is still winter. The Selfish Giant says, “I cannot understand why the spring is so late in coming.”

One morning he sees the most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall of the garden, the children creep in, and they are sitting in the branches of the trees. And the spring comes in the garden. The Giant’s hear lets as he looks out. He says, “How selfish I have been! Now I know why the spring didn’t come here. From now on, my garden shall be the children’s playground forever.”

Do you remember the story? The Giant makes a big wall to prevent the children from coming and playing in the garden. The spring doesn’t come. Likewise, if we build a wall between people and us or between Jesus and us, the resurrection won’t be happening in our lives. Like Jesus rolls stone away and rises, we have to tear down walls or barriers that keep us from opening our minds to God and people around us. We have to roll the stones in our minds away and get ourselves ready to welcome Jesus and other people. We have to remove hindrances that prevent us from rejoicing with happiness and joy to the resurrection.

This is how we take part in Jesus’ resurrection: removing walls and barriers between Jesus and us. The resurrection happens every moment in our daily lives each time we give new life to people. When we share our happiness with our neighbors, when we help the poor, when we courageously show our faith to the world, when we say to our families, “I love you,” Jesus is present among us and we bring His life-giving resurrection to those among us. In order to live in the resurrection, we must roll our stones away from our tombs. Jesus always gives Himself up and resurrects inside us in the form of bread and wine in the Eucharist. He is trying to remove walls between Him and us by rising from the dead. We, as His children and friends, are asked to be witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection every day. Now it is time to roll the stone away that blocks us from new life and proclaim the good news of His resurrection to the world.

 

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