Easter Sunday 5.4.15 Life overcomes Death
Today we celebrate the victory of Life over Death.
Jesus Christ comes triumphant from the grave and so establishes a new order of things for the human race.
He visits the grave only; it is a visit not a captivity.
We always did believe in life after death, insofar as the spirit would live on; but now we believe the actual body will also rise again.
And better news still, that body will be not just resuscitated but resurrected - not just coming back to life as before, but living gloriously forever, free of all aches and pains, able to enjoy new powers – like travelling at the speed of thought, passing through walls.
It takes a certain amount of faith to believe in life after death when we see so much death, but not so much resurrection.
Our news reports are full of death – massacres, murders, disasters, accidents.
Then, in our personal lives we experience the death of loved ones, and we hear of the death of people we have known.
We do not have many reports of people coming back to life! The occasional person does do that, but it is clearly not the norm.
Without faith we could say, as many do, that death is all there is. There is no tomorrow, only today.
Some will say, No one has come back to tell us. No one? In fact there have been many credible appearances of Our Lady, other saints, and souls from Purgatory. But most of all Our Lord Himself: Look at My hands and My feet. It is I myself! Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." (Lk 24,39).
Even one resurrection is enough to prove that it can happen. Resurrections are not common thus far because God is working to a plan.
He lets everything run its course over the centuries. Then He will raise up everyone at the same time (the Last Day).
It thus becomes a matter of faith for us to believe these things are so.
If we find the presence of death too much to bear we take refuge in the Biblical testimony, in prayer and sacraments, in our liturgy - and we allow the grace of God to revive our hope.
Resurrection begins inside us – the way we think.
It is not so hard to believe that the same God who made the universe from nothing could also put back together a few million bodies!
Then, if we think Resurrection we will start to live like it.
Much of the sin that we commit is caused by a kind of despair, a sense of taking what we can while we still can: Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.
With a more measured approach we can deny ourselves the passing delights of this world, knowing there is something better awaiting us.
The knowledge that there is resurrection will enable us to live better lives. Living better lives will increase the certainty that we will benefit from resurrection – that is, that we are more likely to be living in union with Jesus Christ.
We are now in the position of the first disciples who were so perplexed by Our Lord’s appearances. They should not have doubted so much; neither should we.
It is hard for us insofar as we are still in the ‘valley of tears’, still toiling away on our pilgrimage; so our joy is somewhat restrained.
We are not as happy now as we will be when that moment comes for us, but we can draw forth some of the joy at least. We are living in hope until the full reality comes.