He has risen, Alleluia!


Readings: Acts 10: 34a, 37-43; Ps 117: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Col 3: 1-4; Jn 20: 1-9

After a quarantine marked by a grim Liturgy of the Word followed up by a Triduum of hope, the day has finally come when our Light, Life and Hope has broken all barriers and made Himself manifest. What joy for those who observed the Lenten period in prayer, fasting and almsgiving!

Nine readings are prescribed for the Easter Sunday Vigil Mass, seven from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. But let’s restrict ourselves to the three readings prescribed for the Easter Sunday morning Mass.

Today begins a new cycle of readings, all of them from the New Testament writers. Particularly the first reading – from the Acts of the Apostles – will go on uninterruptedly up to Pentecost Sunday (with the exception of the Vigil Mass). This fifth book of the New Testament, written in all probability by the Evangelist Luke, provides a valuable history of the early Christian church.

Today, we see Peter joyfully announcing that Christ has risen. A man who lived with Jesus vouches that He is not just a man: anointed by God’s Spirit, He has the fullness of God in Him. He is undoubtedly the Messiah, who showed His true nature by way of miracles, of which the Resurrection is the most definitive. He is the Life who has conquered death. He has commanded Peter and the other apostles “to testify that He is the one ordained by God to be the judge of the living and the dead.” He is the Saviour whom all of humankind is invited to follow and accept, and “everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”

Peter, who had once lost it and denied his Master, now speaks with the courage of his convictions. He is already showing up as the leader of the nascent Apostolic College. And so was it with Paul. He had persecuted Christ but now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he urges others to follow Christ. Pointing at the One “who is seated at the right hand of God”, he vouches that “when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” We too, by our baptism, have died to sin and risen with Christ to a new life. Hence, in the world in which we live, whatever our station in life, we are duty-bound to work towards our collective happiness on earth but never forgetting that Heaven is our final destination.

Indeed Christ’s Resurrection is His glory. What a slap it was to those who didn’t believe and put to Him to death. Against facts there are no arguments! At first, only a few remembered Him, had faith and persevered. One of them was Mary Magdalene. She came to the tomb and, wonder of wonders, the stone had been rolled away! Did she understand what had happened? Was she scared? She suspected sabotage, as we can conclude from what she told Simon Peter and John. When these two reached the tomb, they saw and believed. Mind you, till that moment “they did not know the scripture”, that is to say, they’d never understood what Jesus had told them in his three-year ministry. Only just now it dawned on them that He had really risen from the dead!

Don’t we too go through many Lents and Easters of our life as though they are mere rituals? Let’s hope that our faith has progressed such that this year it has dawned on us that Christ really rose two thousand years ago after an excruciating Passion and Death. Let’s believe and testify that He does so every day at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is what is meant by the "Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist. The Risen Christ is present to his Church in many ways but most especially sacramentally, through His Body and Blood.