Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
Acts 10:34,37-43 + Col 3:1-4 + Jn 20:1-9
April 1, 2018
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
Easter is not just the single day of Easter Sunday, but a season of seven weeks plus one more day. The Church celebrates Easter for fifty days so as to be able to ponder thoroughly the mysteries of this holiest season of the Church’s year. There are three mysteries of our Faith that the Church celebrates during Easter. They are the first three Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Today, consider just the first and third.
The first mystery is the proper focus of today: the Resurrection. This mystery is presented by today’s Gospel passage, where the young apostle John serves as a model of how to ponder.
St. John, who was apostle and evangelist, accomplished all he did because he was the Beloved Disciple. As an apostle and an evangelist, he was like a zealous Martha. But first he was a faithful Mary. The Beloved Disciple who at the Last Supper took the stance that Mary did at the meal in her home, sitting, listening at the feet of the Word made Flesh.
In many churches, we see above the high altar the youngest of the apostles—St. John—at one side of the Cross, and our Blessed Mother on the other. This is the scene of the Crucifixion that the Church celebrated just days ago.
But on the third day, John ran with Peter to the tomb. Along with Saint Peter and the beloved disciple, Saint John, we also see the wrappings lying on the ground. John saw and believed. With no sign of Jesus and without a word from Jesus, John saw and believed simply because the tomb was empty. It is ironic that on the greatest feast of the Christian year, Christ doesn’t even appear in the Gospel passage, nor speak a word. We see only His empty tomb, and hear only silence.
St. John teaches us to pray during these fifty days of Easter for a great gift. God has a gift ready for us, the Gift of the Holy Spirit. That is why we hear every day of Easter from the Acts of the Apostles: the book that describes the Church at work through the Power of the Holy Spirit. The descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is the culminating mystery of Easter. We don’t simply celebrate it on the last day of Easter as an afterthought: it is the mystery that Jesus leads us towards through His Resurrection.