"This man (Jesus) God raised on the third day and granted that He be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead."
Having been purified through our Lenten discipline, we join the rest of Christendom to proclaim that the Lord is risen, alleluia! The Resurrection of Jesus is not a solitary event that happened over two millennia ago, rather it is an event that stretches from the past into the present and extends even into the future. The Resurrection of Jesus changed everything whether here on Earth or in Heaven. There is nothing that could ever exhaust the profundity of the Resurrection. The Resurrection demonstrates that there is nothing that Jesus can or cannot do.
The sign of the Resurrection is the empty tomb. The disciples knew where they laid the body of Jesus following the crucifixion. But when Mary arrived to grieve her teacher and Lord, the stone that sealed His body from the elements was gone! She sprints to the Apostles, and Peter with John to dispatch to the tomb to see it for themselves. Peter enters the tomb and leaves dumbfounded but John enters and he sees and believes. Eventually after encountering the Risen Jesus, the Apostles recognize and believe that Jesus had truly been raised from the dead. Those Apostles and disciples become witnesses to the Resurrection. As the infant church, they connect future disciples to the events of that first Easter. For that reason, in the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter defines the role of the Church as a witness of the Lord's Resurrection.
Since the beginning, the Church witnesses the glory of Jesus' Resurrection through hospitality, formation, prayer, and service. It wasn't in words that the disciples of yesterday and today give testimony of the Resurrection but rather through action. Through the testimony of the Apostles, countless people came to believe in Jesus and His Resurrection. There was something in their testimony since they saw for themselves the Risen Jesus that led to so many conversions.
The Church continues to witness to the Resurrection. Indeed, as members of the Body of Christ, we too are witnesses of the Resurrection. As disciples, we give testimony through our good works that Jesus died and was raised. We witness that there is nothing too small or too great for Jesus to accomplish through us. Through the Sacraments of the Church, we allow the Passion, Death, and Resurrection to empower us to be witnesses. The world needs us to be true witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus. Like the Apostles, let our hearts burn within us, may we go out to announce the Good News from the empty tomb, and may we also see and believe that Jesus is indeed risen!
Happy Easter to one and all!
In the Risen Christ,