Apr 19, 2014

Easter - God's exclamation point!


He is risen indeed!
The Word for Easter Sunday: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/042014.cfm
Good writers know that when composing a text the use of an exclamation point should be rare. The purpose of the exclamation point is to basically express a shout at the end of a statement. You want to insist on your point so the exclamation point in writing makes sure the reader knows how you feel.

Still, have you ever received an e-mail or a text on your phone filled with capital letters and exclamation points?  Obviously the other person is trying to make a point, express their anger or share their overwhelming joy about something.  If we know they’re shouting at us the temptation is to just press delete. We want to respond – calm down!

However, Easter Sunday we might say is God’s exclamation point.  The resurrection of Jesus was God’s answer to all that Jesus did and said; to his entire mission and purpose on this earth.  It is the ultimate proof that Jesus is the Son of the living God and that all he said and did is true. He is, as we heard at the Easter Vigil and which the tall candle represents, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things.

As obedient son of the eternal Father Jesus carried out his mission, the purpose for which he was sent, and presented to all humanity a new vision of what God is like and what he offers to humankind: that all are welcome into his family, that God forgives before we even ask for it like the story of the prodigal Son, that mercy not punishment is God’s first choice,  and so we have an invitation to enter into a new relationship with Christ Jesus himself as the one who gathers us together and feeds us with word and sacrament. So, the Easter season is filled with 50 days of celebration, 50 exclamation points that all shout with joy the truth of the risen Christ. Yet, only by faith can any of us come to know this truth with certainty.  

A well-known phrase put it like this: “For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible; for those who do believe, no explanation is necessary.” So the ultimate question for all of us each Easter is – do I believe this?

The Scriptures and Christian history reveal to us signs that brought others to faith. It began with an empty tomb and left those who found it with three possible choices:  either Jesus’ body was indeed stolen, or he wasn’t really dead on the cross, or he is truly raised as he said.  An empty tomb alone, though, is not the final proof.  Something more was needed.

The eye witnesses of Mary Magdalene, Peter, John, Thomas, the other Apostles and others we hear from these next fifty days who relate experiences with the risen Lord too fantastic to either have been made up by delusional people or to be true are experiences that convict us in our faith. Both the word of God, history, and the lives of so many before us remind us that the risen Lord is not a fable or myth but he is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of all human history. He is the divine exclamation point that both ends and begins something fresh for us.   

In the sacraments of the Church, Christ becomes our healer, our teacher, our food and our word in the life of the Church and our personal life of faith. The birth of new Christians among us who continue to come to the Sacraments of life – Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist where he calls us to lives of service after his example and he creates his family the Church to be his own body in the world.
We hear at the end of our Eucharistic encounter with the risen Lord to: “Go and share the Gospel of the Lord.” In other words, "Go and fill the world with exclamation points!!!"
 
Victimæ Paschali laudes
Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia.