We are Easter people. Our faith is grounded in the Risen Lord.
In the transforming light of the resurrection we are are bathed in Truth.
And Truth has sent us free.
Not free from care and concern for others.
Not free from the responsibilities of discipleship in it widest application.
But, set free from the bondage of the sin of the world. Free from fear and death.
Free to do the acts of love that imperfectly mirror and reflect what we heard Peter, confess in the first reading.
God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and he went about doing good.
Peter's humble phrase describing the works of Jesus as "doing good" captures the saving totality of the Paschal Mystery; Jesus' life, death and resurrection.
Peter goes on to say with equal simplicity, "they" (describing the fearful principalities and the hateful powers) put him to death.But, we know, experience and celebrate, that the horror of injustice, torture and death was overcome, once and for all, because as Peter (filled by the Spirit) proclaims, God raised Jesus on the third day.
This is why we are here today.
But, in the darkness of the first day of the week, it was Mary of Magdala that came to the tomb, in the heavy gloom that seemed to mirror their sadness, confusion and lack of faith.
She ran to Peter, the bearer of authority and John, the beloved disciple and told them what she had found and what she feared.
Peter and the other disciple (still unbelievers) ran to the tomb, the younger man, with what seems to be a greater urgency to know, gets there first, but he does not enter, rather he waited and let the senior man enter the tomb first.
Peter, sees that the body is gone. The burial cloths neatly placed. And with a detail that must have come from that very moment and held dear in the reselling, the cloth used to cover Jesus' head was set aside, neatly folded up in a separate place.Not only was the tomb empty, but the trappings of death were also empty.
The Risen Jesus would have no need of them.
And besides anyone stealing a body would surly have left it wrapped for speed and ease of movement. No thieves would take the time and effort.
It is interesting, and surprising, given Peter's rash character, that his reactions to the empty tomb are not revealed.
Perfecting faith would only come in time, with real encounters with the Risen Jesus, the coming of the Holy Spirit who would teach them all things and who would enliven their lives and through a new Spirit driven understanding of scripture.We know that upon hearing the good, but utterly unbelievable news, the twelve were still unsure, torn and fearful. Each heart racing with mixed emotions and opinions as to what it all meant. For them the peace of Christ and love of God, communion with the Holy Spirit was still to come.
But, on that day, for the beloved disciple, the empty tomb was the first sign that death had been defeated. God's light had vanquished death's darkness. Jesus had been raised. All that he said and did had be ratified by God. Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ.At Easter we celebrate this saving truth; Jesus, God's beloved son, lived among us, healed, forgave sins, loved us until the end. He was unjustly put to death, and on the third day is Risen and Glorified.
So, beginning with today, let the Easter Mystery transform our lives.Let it be a new invitation to encounter the Risen Lord; in prayer, the sacraments, by doing the next good thing, through others and always, when we least expect it.
Rejoice and be glad. It is Easter and we find ourselves also risen to a new life.