Acts 10:34 & 37-43; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9 (Year A)
‘They killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen. Now we are those witnesses, we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead, and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people.”
Peter’s address to Cornelius encapsulated the vitality of the Easter Proclamation. Christ had died and was truly Risen. Jesus, anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power for his earthly ministry, had been raised with that same power to touch every believer in every time and every place.
Peter had spoken of the experience of the first witnesses to the Resurrection. Now, in the conversion of Cornelius, a Roman outsider, the power of Christ’s Resurrection began to reach beyond the confines of Israel.
With those first witnesses, we are ordered to proclaim Christ’s Resurrection. For we too, with them, have eaten and drunk with the Lord after his Resurrection. We do this every time we celebrate the Eucharist, proclaiming his real and enduring presence in our midst.
At times, this Easter faith falters. We become like those disciples who approached the empty tomb on that first Easter morning. Faith, once so strong, seems to drain away in the relentless unfolding of our own frailty and sin. Mary of Magdala expressed a sense of deep loss not unknown to us: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put him.”
Jesus revealed himself to Peter and the other disciple in the emptiness of that Easter morning. Confronted with the empty tomb, faith surrendered itself to the power of Christ’s risen presence. “Then the other disciple went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.”
To experience an emptiness that cries out for Christ’s healing presence is to draw close to the empty tomb. Faith, surrendering its emptiness, draws near to the Risen Lord.
Paul described this as a dying to self that reveals the Risen Lord in a truly personal manner: “Because you have died, the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed, and he is your life, you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.”
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