My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The Gospel reading for this Easter Sunday is full of frantic running to and from the empty tomb, at the superficial level it can make some people envious as they are not permitted to leave their homes at the moment. Walking and running have become a luxurious commodity reserved to those who own large properties. However the frantic running of Mary of Magdala, Peter and John evokes more the efforts of our medical researchers rather than bored quarantiners.
These three people from today’s Gospel are at the centre of the most significant breakthrough to save the humankind. It has been the only breakthrough the humankind has ever needed for its betterment. This saving breakthrough was accomplished by the Son of God who became the Son of Man. He took upon himself not only what is the best in humans but also what is the worst, what is the deadliest. The result of his choice to be one of us was the death on the cross. Was it a wrong choice then? No, it was a saving choice. His choice has saved us.
The people we meet in the Gospel for this Easter Sunday represent various human experiences. There was Mary of Magdala who had been forgiven a lot by the person whose body disappeared. There was John who had had a chance to have the most profound friendship with the person whose body disappeared. There was Peter who had been in need of forgiveness from the person whose body disappeared. Before Jesus was taken from them they already experienced in him the best of human. Was he so good that he had no chance to survive? Why didn’t he listen to the ‘good’ advice Peter gave him not to go to Jerusalem? Why did he have to go to Jerusalem. Couldn’t he stay in the quite and picturesque Galilee? They could have lived such a pleasant life there?
The people we meet in the Gospel for this Easter Sunday represent various human experiences. What they have in common is their loss. Their loss has a name: JESUS CHRIST. They lost him and now they are at loss themselves. They run a lot to and from the empty sepulchre. If we followed them most likely we will be out of breath by now as after weeks of national quarantine our fitness level is rather low. Maybe it is good that we don’t run right now because we can detect something astonishing. They haven’t met the Risen Christ in person yet. However St John remembering that day wrote about himself: ‘Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.’
My Brothers and Sisters! Can you hear what John is talking about? He is healed from the fear of death. He believes Jesus. He is a believer now. The words of Jesus which he heard before are not painful memories of the lost friend. The words of Jesus which he heard before are now the life giving Good News which fill John with the spirit which raised Jesus from the dead. It is like Jesus’ blood plasma pumped into John’s system. The immunity developed by Jesus is given now to John. It will not make John immortal or immaculate, but in his mortality and sinfulness he will experience what St Paul heard later from Jesus: ‘My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.’
My dear Friends in Christ! A politician recently said that after the pandemic the world will never be the same. There is no way of going to the old version of the world we know. When he was asked what the world would look like then, he answered: ‘I don’t know.’ After hearing that interview I couldn’t get his words out of my head and heart. These words capture well the mystery of the Resurrection. The Risen Lord was the same the disciples knew when he called them to follow him. However when he came to them after his Resurrection they couldn’t recognise him. Once the Resurrection permeated the disciples they became different too. They were drawn to the new world while they lived in the old world. They lived the new world while they remained in the old one.
To finish this homily I would like to return to our first reading. There we can see Peter who is the man healed by the Resurrection. We meet him proclaiming Christ to Cornelius. Cornelius was a Roman officer. Cornelius was from the people who authorised the crucifixion of Jesus. Why isn’t Peter afraid of Cornelius? Before he was afraid of a servant girl who identified him as follower of Jesus. Why doesn’t Peter hate Cornelius? Before he wanted to kill those who came to arrest Jesus. I will leave you to answer these questions for yourself.