My Dear Sisters and Brothers! This Easter Sunday is not the first time this year we celebrate someone being raised from the dead. A couple of weeks ago we remembered the rising from the dead of Jesus’ close friend Lazarus. What I would like to focus on now is that after Jesus Christ called Lazarus out of the grave the leaders of the Jews decided to kill Lazarus as well. It was a very peculiar reaction to Lazarus’ return to the land of the living. Why was Lazarus so dangerous to the status quo of the religious, political and social establishment? Lazarus was extremely dangerous to the establishment because he became a walking reminder of the power of Christ Jesus. When Lazarus was walking down the street in Bethany or Jerusalem the people would say: “That’s the man who was given life by Jesus Christ.” When Lazarus went shopping people in the shop would say: “That’s the man who was given life by Jesus Christ.” When Lazarus went to have a beer the people in the pub would say: “That’s the man who was given life by Jesus Christ.” I presume they didn’t even dare to ask him: “How are you” because they would hear: “I am still alive, thank to Jesus Christ.”
I am recalling Lazarus on this Easter Sunday because each one of us, baptised Catholics, is called to be like Lazarus. We are called to be walking reminders of the power of the Risen Lord wherever we appear, even in a pub. St Paul in the Letter to the Colossians wrote: “You have been brought back to true life with Christ.” The Apostle spoke of the Christians in Colossae, and about you and me who confess Jesus as the Lord and God. Lazarus returned to the same world he lived in before he died, he didn’t return to a better or ideal world, but he returned with life in him which was Christ’s. Our Baptism doesn’t transport us to a better world either, but we return to the world filled with the Spirit of the Risen Lord. Believe, my Dear fellow Catholics, that there is in you the Spirit which crushed the chains of sin and death in the Risen Body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe it with “all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” If Jesus is who he says he is, give your life to him, so that through you others could come to love our God with “all their heart, with all their mind, and with all their strength.”
At the beginning I said that “I am still alive.” That’s the picture of the first disciples of Jesus we get from today’s Gospel of John. After the Good Friday they were lost, they were in despair, they were shattered. There was no life in them, but remember what happened to them on the Easter Sunday. The Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus got them moving. In fact the Gospel passage for this morning is better than any gym session. There is so much action: “Mary came running to Peter,” “Peter and the other disciple ran together to the tomb.” You can be out of breath even reading that. It is a very fast moving event. Those people who were flat before now appear to be alive. The Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection makes them “Still alive.” The same Good News I give you today. Jesus Christ who for us and for our salvation was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea is RISEN and with him “You have been brought back to true life.” Believe this Good News, “Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart. You shall repeat them to your children and say them over to them whether at rest in your house or walking abroad, at your lying down or at your rising.”
How are you my Brothers and Sister?
Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!