With joy and exaltation today, the Church proclaims once again, as we have done for two millennia, “Christ is Risen!”
The Gospel tells us of the empty tomb, of the first witnesses, and history bears witness to the progress of Christ’s living Church through 20 centuries and all of the works of love and charity lived out by that Church over 2,000 years. We are part of a faith family, a living tradition, a connectedness from Mary Magdalene, Peter, John, the other apostles and disciples who saw Jesus alive, as well as the testimony of the martyrs and saints – all of those witnesses year after year after year.
We must share this Good News of the Resurrection. We are meant to be signs and instruments of salvation in the work of Christ, the light of the world and salt of the earth for the redemption of all. This is the mission given to us by our Savior Jesus, who also prayed before he was given up to death that his believers “may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one” (John 17:21-23).
This year our Easter joy is made more complete by the fact that the entire Church throughout the world – one, holy, catholic and apostolic – is singing, “Alleluia,” all on the same day. In the course of human history, contrary to Christ’s expressed will, parts of the one Christian family tragically moved apart from each other, most notably the separation between the Orthodox East and the Latin West. While each always continued to proclaim, “Christ is Risen,” at Easter, because of subsequently following different calendars and ways of calculating the day of Easter, many years they often celebrated this holiest of solemnities (and other feasts) on different days.
Easter marks humanity’s reconciliation with God through Christ Crucified and Risen so that you and I and may be one in the Lord. So it is a blessing that this year Easter falls on the same day on both calendars so that the one Church rejoices today as one. In our society today which sees so much division and polarization, we can in this small way help show the way toward unity of all peoples.
Jesus said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). What the Risen Lord offers is a life richer than any we could ever otherwise have, a life so radically new that we must be born again to receive it, a life that participates in Christ’s own Resurrection and in a glorified and eternal body. This is the Good News which has the power to make what is good in human life far better and richer. It takes our broken lives and renews us and the whole world. This is our faith. This is our great hope. Alleluia, Alleluia. Amen.