More News of Great Joy
For behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.
What?!?!?! Wrong holiday. Father Pete you stayed up too late last night at the Easter Vigil and you are confusing Midnight Mass on Christmas with Easter. Maybe, I am just checking to see if YOU are paying attention.
But really the message of divine joy is one and the same MYSTERY in the person of Jesus Christ, proclaimed by angels, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus preached, healed, prayed and loved to the extreme by suffering and dying by crucifixion.
And today we hear an angel of God say to the women, instead of to the shepherds, “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. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.” And on hearing this news, the women went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.
Today I bring you tidings of great joy! For those with eyes of faith, God’s news is always good and we hear that joyful theme throughout the readings we have heard. It was so wonderful and filled with JOY and HOPE that it cannot be contained. An encounter with Jesus Christ Crucified and Risen from the dead impelled Peter to go and share this great news everywhere he went. The writer of the second reading, St. Paul too had met the Risen Lord who told him not to persecute believers. It was so profound that he not only stopped persecuting Christians, but became one of the most ardent proclaimers of the message ever. He traveled extensively in his preaching and nothing could take away from his joy.
On Easter we dare to proclaim the goodness of God in a world that is filled with terror, that responds with violence, with people who are fearful for many different reasons. Behold, LOOK, PAY ATTENTION. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR … PHONE and LOOK UP to the God who wants to fill you with love and joy! BECAUSE Jesus, true God and true man, was born into our human condition. He knows what we experience. He knows that we suffer. He knows that we fear death. And in His resurrection, LIFE, JOY and LOVE always triumph.
This feast is especially for you who have felt dejection, far from God, doubt, physical, mental, or spiritual suffering or any worry. The Risen wants you to trust in Him and He always gives hope! Do not be afraid.
I will end with this little story.
A Catholic school teacher had just finished telling her third graders about how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb with a great stone sealing the opening. Then, wanting to share the excitement of the Resurrection, she asked: “And what do you think were Jesus’ first words when He came bursting out of that tomb alive?” A hand shot up into the air from the rear of the classroom. Attached to it was the arm of a little girl. Leaping out of her chair she shouted out excitedly “I know, I know!” “Good” said the teacher, “Tell us, what were the first words of Jesus on coming out of the tomb?” And extending her arms high into the air she said: “TA-DA!”
Children have a way of bringing joy to our hearts. The Risen Christ is always He who brings eternal joy, unending hope and the promise of eternal life.