My Dear Sisters and Brothers! I thought that it was rather nice that she made the conclusion that if there was a priest with a book it meant it was the Bible. But I can tell you that as I cannot imagine my life without the Bible as I cannot imagine my life without my appointment diary. It is a useful tool indeed. Although our lifestyle may differ and consequently we will have different appointments to turn up to, there is one appointment all of us have in common. It is an appointment with death. A tricky appointment as we don’t know the time, the day, the month nor the year. Even if we don’t write it down in our diary it is somehow rather stuck in the back of our head. It can be rather a daunting prospect. Like that Sunday morning when some women went to the tomb of Jesus with spices they prepared. Why did they go there? What was the difference between them going to the tomb and the people who go to the tomb of Christ today? Those women from the Gospel of Luke had an appointment with death. That’s why they “didn’t know what to think” when they “discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there.” The people, who now travel to Jerusalem, in such big numbers, would be rather surprised to find the Body of the Lord Jesus there. Between those women and us there is one event which has happened only once so far in the history of the Universe: the Resurrection of Jesus. Some could quote now the story of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. However Lazarus was brought back to the same life he had before. He died eventually a natural death. Jesus’ resurrection was not a reanimation or resuscitation but such a new way of living that even Jesus’ followers couldn’t recognise him first. Think of Mary of Magdala and the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. They were still so fixated on their appointment with death which claimed their Master that they didn’t turn the page of their diary to where there was another appointment which, according to God’s plan follows death. That appointment was shouted out by that young man from our First Reading: “Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men’s hands, yet relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by him to new life.”
My Dear fellow believers! Why do the crowds of people still go to Jerusalem to see Jesus’ tomb if they know it is empty? Or why don’t they go in search of Lazarus’ first grave instead? St Paul explained it is this way: “If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless and your believing is useless.” If Christ has not been raised, let’s call it a day and go back to where we came from. Shall we? No, because as St Paul preached: “Christ was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with Scriptures.” How do we know that? Firstly because the Apostles didn’t make up a story of how Christ was raised to new life. They left it the way they knew it: as a mystery. No one saw Jesus getting out of his tomb and the Apostles didn’t create science fiction stories of Jesus flying out of tomb on a cloud to fill up the gap in the history. Secondly because “Jesus appeared first to Peter and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred brothers” as St Paul was telling Christians in Corinth. We also recall Mary Magdalen and the two disciples on the way to Emmaus among those who saw Jesus alive. He was not a ghost. He was not a resuscitated corpse either. He is the Risen Lord, “the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.” That’s why we recite every Sunday in our Creed: “He rose again on the third day.” That’s why those crowds of people “waste” their money by going to Jerusalem to see the empty tomb. Because Jesus’ resurrection means that God’s promises of the past are being fulfilled. It was not a one of extraordinary spectacle. On the contrary it has been the reality we live every day. We make our Easter, and in fact every Sunday, appointments to turn up to celebrate Jesus’ Death and Resurrection at Eucharist. We believe that by our faith and Baptism we are immersed in his death in order to be raised to new life like Jesus was raised to new life on that first Easter Sunday morning.