Sometimes in the gospel, there is a single detail that tells the whole story. There is such a detail in this evening’s gospel that cuts right to the heart of Easter and it is this…the stone was rolled away!
The resurrection means that the huge stone that separated the human race from God, the stone that stood like a wall between humanity and God was rolled away and now in Jesus Christ, the way to the Father is wide open. It is as though a room was shrouded in darkness and Jesus rises to pull aside the curtain and flood the room with God’s light. Through the Resurrection of Jesus, God’s own life floods back into the world. Now, eternal life and eternal happiness are possible for all of us.
But still, there remains a doubt that clouds this glorious evening. A lingering doubt that casts its shadow over Easter. It is the doubt that you and I can really walk in this newness of life… that we can become a new creation. That we, too can be changed and filled with the Holy Spirit. Maybe we feel that the stone in our life is too massive, too big, too heavy to be rolled away. That Jesus rose to new life is easy to believe. But we doubt that we can rise to new life in Him.
So, let me ask you. Can the God of Genesis, who separated darkness from light, who brought this entire magnificent world into being from nothing make me a new creation and give me new life?
The resurrection says…yes!! If God can create the universe, He can surely re-create me.
Can the God of Exodus… who delivered the Jewish people from slavery and bondage deliver us from the bondage of sin? The resurrection of Jesus Christ says…Yes!! If God could free the Jewish people, he can certainly free you and me.
Because of the Resurrection of Jesus, we can experience the power of Genesis in our life. We can experience an Exodus from the bondage of sin in our life. The stone in our life, whatever it may be, can be rolled away.
Our Easter Vigil began in darkness. The darkness represented all that is devoid of light…evil thoughts, sinister motivations, terrible deeds, whatever is hidden and secret, deceitful and dishonest, divisive and abusive, immoral and sinful. It is the darkness of our world and sometimes the darkness in our own hearts.
Then a light was struck and broke into the darkness. As the light spread, the church was illumined by the light and the darkness began to be dispelled. This should give us hope for our culture and for our world. The light that we have been given, the light of faith, has the power to dispel the darkness.
We all come to Easter with individual histories of failings and sins. The Resurrection of Jesus assures each of us that regardless of our past, we can have a different future. One writer called the Risen Christ an immortal diamond…casting His light in a thousand different ways with facets and colors, according to our need. He can bring to each of us the grace we need for our future, if we’ll just ask with a sincere heart.
Jesus created the Church to be the place where He will always be found in Word and Sacrament. Here, Christ dwells in His majestic Easter presence. No longer confined to Palestine, He is now in countless places and in countless lives.
We can encounter Jesus where generations of Christians have encountered Him before us: in the Church’s rituals, the Church’s preaching and in the Church’s life. If we are seeking the Risen Christ in our life, we should not look for visions. We should seek Him within the Church. Here is where the Risen One, the Risen Christ, lives and moves today.
If we embrace Gospel living, develop a personal prayer life and join this great Church for weekly Mass, we will experience the Easter light entering our life. We’ll start to notice the stone in our life being rolled away.
Our problems will not suddenly vanish, but we will find new strength and courage to work through them.
Easter is a time to re-discover a personal relationship with the Risen Christ within the life of the Church. It is a relationship that no one can take away from us. It will make us better and greater than we are and it will never end.
We will come to see that all the promises of Christ and all the parables of Christ are for us and about us. What happened to the first disciples who experienced such a re-creation powered by the Holy Spirit can happen to us. It’s what God does…It’s how God works.
Today is that day when the stone in our life can start to be rolled away. This is that season which offers a second chance for each one of us. The message of Easter is not only that Christ is risen, not only that suffering is not the last word, not only that God gives new life, but this: absolutely nothing is impossible with God.