Browsing Homilies

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night (Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord)

Mt 28:1-10

Pet owners often share how difficult it is when a pet dies. Packing up the dog dish or having no use for a leash anymore can be heartbreaking. Suddenly, your dear cat no longer provides cuddles as you watch television or anxiously awaits your arrival home from school or work. You go to call your pet’s name for a walk or a meal and realize that you won’t hear the jangle of their collar anymore. You had gotten into a routine, and many times your life was oriented around their schedule.

Now, if a friend or family member passes away, the loss is only amplified. There are so many moments that you want to share with that loved one, and you find yourself longing for one more good chat over an afternoon coffee. It’s a natural instinct for many of us to want to remember, to celebrate, and to memorialize a person after they die—because that’s how their story lives on for years to come.

Anyone who has experienced the death of someone they love, especially if the death was sudden or unexpected, knows that the first stages of grief are some of the most tumultuous. The ability to memorialize while simultaneously taking time to process and deal with anything seems nearly impossible.

When we see Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in today’s gospel, we understand that they are grieving the loss of their dear friend. They spent the last several years following his public ministry and then watched him be killed in a horrific way. They want to honor Jesus and properly bury him. In the midst of their trauma and grief, they still desire to attend to their holy ritual; however, when they arrive at the tomb, the stone has been rolled away. They had to have felt confusion mixed with a profound sense of loss once more. Did someone steal his body? Where does the cruelty stop?

The angel of the Lord says to them, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” The angel shares that they should spread the message of the resurrection with others.

The gospel says the women left “fearful yet overjoyed.” I picture that their minds and hearts were trying to catch up with what was happening. They came to the tomb with an immense amount of grief in hopes of honoring their friend. Then there was an earthquake, and they saw an angel who told them that Jesus has been raised form the dead. Now they are leaving to tell others about what they saw and heard. They’re probably pondering the meaning of seeing an angel and of Jesus being alive once more and wondering if others will even believe what they saw. As they’re running back to let the disciples know the Good News, Jesus himself appears to them. He’s there, just as the angel proclaimed! They stop and do him homage, and Jesus says to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Jesus knows that they are processing so many emotions, so he echoes the words of the angel: “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid of what this new information means. Do not be afraid of others’ reactions. Do not be afraid of your emotions, and do not let them incapacitate you and keep you from acting. Instead, Jesus challenges them to be the women God intended them to be—the ones who would be the first to share the Good News of the Resurrection—apostles to the Apostles!

So, what are you afraid of? On this most sacred night, what fears have you brought with you? Are you still in the same place as on Ash Wednesday? What do you remain unsure of? What confusion, heartbreak, sorrow, regret, or sin have you brought with you into the dark of this night? Name it. Say it to yourself.

It’s been conquered.

He took it all upon himself, and endured the agony of the Cross, as if you were the only one worth doing it for: he who knew you before he formed you in your mother’s womb.

The Light is here—so, don’t fall for the darkness; that’s Satan’s trick, “his empty show,” that we’re all about to renounce. We’re taught in philosophy rather quickly that light exists, not darkness; that is, darkness does not exist in and of itself. Darkness is simply the deprivation of light, a lack of light. The devil doesn’t have his own clay. All he can do is take God’s clay (which is always very good) and twist it up, distort it. Don’t fall for it, and do not be afraid.

Jesus knows you’re processing so many emotions; that it can be difficult to act, to move forward, to let go, to begin new. What happened to the woman at the well after her encounter with Christ? The Scriptures share that great detail: she races into town and leaves her bucket. So overwhelming is her encounter with Christ, that it changed her. She doesn’t even remember why she came to the well in the first place. She leaves her former ways behind. She’s no longer afraid of what people say about her. The very ones she was avoiding, by coming at the hottest hour of the day, she races into town and shares the Good News.

Our Lord thirsts. He thirsted on the Cross, but for souls, just as he thirsted for that woman’s faith so ardently, and he thirsts for ours

Do not be afraid. What you struggle with, it doesn’t have to master you. In the waters of baptism, we have (and these three will) die to self and rise with Christ. We, who live and move and have our being are caught up in time—we simply have to make choices and conform our lives to the reality that we are a new creation!

Tonight, let’s leave our buckets behind, and quench the thirst of Our Lord.


RSS Feed


Access all blogs

Subscribe to all of our blogs