Acts 10:34a, 37-43 Colossians 3:1-4 John 20:1-9
Imagine, if you will, someone coming to you and saying, “I have something to share with you, something too wonderful to hold back, something that, quite possibly, you will not believe. You may even want to kill me after I say it. I know this, and yet I must speak.” In the first reading, Peter is driven to bear witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, even though he knows that he will be rejected and suffer for it. When we hear about Peter, filled with the Spirit and with Easter joy, proclaiming the Good News, we hear what we, the baptized, must do as well. In the reading from Colossians, St. Paul reminds us that resurrection is not just a solitary event, but a continuing part of our lives. Because of our baptism, we live anew and are raised with Christ in glory.
John’s Gospel captures the flavor of the Easter morning experience. Picture Mary coming to the tomb in the dark. Feel her confusion, her fear as she discovers that the tomb is empty. Nothing in her life could have prepared her for this moment. Yes, Jesus had told them that he would rise again, but how could they have understood? She runs to Peter, heart pounding, tears flowing. Peter and the beloved disciple dash to the tomb, confused and fearful as well. It is Peter who goes in first: Peter, the rock of Christ’s Church. He holds the burial cloths in his hands. They stand in the empty tomb, silent. They don’t understand yet, but they know that life has changed in a way that they had not thought possible. Their heads swim in confusion, but their hearts burn with the fire of the Spirit. Can it be true? Has Jesus indeed risen?
We, too, have stood with Mary, Peter, and all the disciples in the empty tomb, filled with fear and foreboding, yet also with Spirit-enflamed hearts pounding. The power of Easter joy can temper our fears and take us from the tomb out into the world, where we must spread the Good News: Christ is risen!