Sunday, April 20, 2014
Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1
Corinthians 5:6b-8
John 20:1-9 or
Matthew 28:1-10 or, at an afternoon or evening Mass, Luke 24:13-35

Today we celebrate the “aha” moment of our faith. This is the most important celebration of the liturgical year. In a very real sense, we celebrate it every day and we think of it whenever we contemplate the meaning of our lives.

Throughout the year, we try to explain it even as we attempt to explain ourselves. On Easter Sunday, the liturgy reminds us that human nature has not changed since the time of Jesus’ followers. The first inclination of Mary Magdalene was to explain. Peter just observed and John simply believed. There is no denying the ultimate fidelity of all three; but, the different ways in which they came to faith is undeniable. Those who gather at the Eucharist on this Easter Sunday sing the “alleluia” of resurrection faith. The paths that they have taken to arrive at this moment are different from one another. Many were baptized as infants and walked in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents before them. Others came to faith as adults and the Lenten season traced the steps of their journey. The road they took seems logical to those who see it from the outside. Yet, we do not know their interior struggles. Like Mary Magdalene, perhaps they fought their own personal demons and the pressures that society placed upon them.

Others who celebrate with us might well have approached Christianity as outside observers who were merely “hedging their bets,” and then — at a crisis point like Peter’s — were moved to make a decision that changed them forever.

Then there are those who instinctively accepted the Word of God from the kind of love that motivated the disciple who called himself “beloved.”

The first reading recounts the powerful witness of Peter — Peter the Observer — who in retrospect can faithfully recount the story of Jesus in a manner similar to our own faith affirmation. It is clear to the apostle now and should, he thinks, be clear to everyone who hears him.

There are other stories — stories not told in the scripture — which live in our own imagination. How did Mary Magdalene tell the tale of resurrection? What would John have said? Though Peter’s sermon was articulate, I think the stories Mary Magalene and John told would have appealed to another group of people.

Easter Sunday is about celebration. It is about “alleluia-faith.” It is about the mission that belongs to each of us. Our individual stories of faith appeal to different individuals. These are the tales we must tell.

Today we are challenged to retrace the steps that led us to Jesus and to tell others about the journey. We give thanks today for the way the Lord has worked in our lives and for those who have had the courage to tell us how they have been led to believe. We celebrate especially the faith of those who were baptized at the Easter Vigil.