April 8, 2012 - Easter Sunday: Solemnity of the Resurrection of The Lord

Today's Readings

Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia! Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia! No matter what the headline of the Daily News is today, we’ve got bigger news: Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia! That’s the headline; here’s the story: In the beginning, God made humans. We sinned. Then God became human. We killed him. Then God rose from the dead, and he still loves us. No news, domestic or foreign, is more interesting than that. Two-thousand years ago, Peter declared to the Nations the Good News of Jesus Christ. Today I proclaim that same news to you: Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia, and everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.

What an amazing offer: forgiveness of sins through his name! Jesus crossed over to the realms of death and brought back victory through his cross. And what a victory! What else could we want? What else could we need? Who needs food, who needs water, who needs air to breathe so long as we have got forgiveness of sins?

Two-thousand years ago, those to whom Peter spoke received this news with joy. This was the answer to a question which consumed their lives. Through the centuries the nations throughout the world received this news with joy. Christianity grew from a handful of people to two billion strong. Has this message lost its power now? Can news which is 2000 years old still be news? Last night, a large crowd of people came forward and were baptized for the forgiveness of sins: tens of thousands in our country, untold numbers throughout the world, ____ right here in ____. The call of the good news still has power in their lives. Last night this crowd died with Christ in baptism and was raised with Christ in grace. How wonderful to see these new Christians pass through the waters of baptism to new life.

This good news is still powerful, and it will remain powerful. It is the only solution to our problems. So long as sin remains in the world, we will need forgiveness of sins. So long as sin has power in each of our souls, we will need forgiveness of sins.

It is unfortunate that today of all days, on Easter Sunday, we must recall sin and death. Today should be a day of joy, but how can we rejoice at the good news if we do not first know the bad news? Who will rejoice at the headline: “War Ends” unless they knew that there was a war? If tonight it is announced that some deadly disease has been cured, we might all express mild gladness, but if we and our family had this disease, the news would cause us to leap for joy. Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia! This should cause us to do cartwheels down that aisle.

The Resurrection is not only about something that happens after we die. The Resurrection is taking place right now in our lives. It is the potential for our lives to be different, to be amazing. Perhaps someone will say, “But I haven’t done anything really bad; I’ve never killed anyone.” Do not set your standards according to how depraved and selfish and evil humanity can get. What about how good we can be? What about John Paul II? What about Mother Theresa? What about St. Francis of Assisi? What about Jesus? How are you doing compared to them? The Resurrection means that we can be like them. It is the opportunity to be no longer mediocre.

The Resurrection is not only for after we die, but it is for then too. Death is the universal human experience. You are all going to die. You and I and every single person in the world is going to die. We do not like to think about it, I know. We try to forget about death because it is unpleasant and frightening. But it does not have to be like that anymore.

If the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was only about an innocent man recovering from death, we would be happy for him, but if the Resurrection signifies that Jesus Christ went down to Hell and destroyed the power of death, that he has unlocked our prison, that we are free to go, then we can rejoice. The good news today is not only the good news, it is the best news. The joy of today cannot be ranked with other joys. We can spend forever perfectly happy with God. What could be better?

Say Alleluia with me: Alleluia! Now say it louder! Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia! Rejoice! Alleluia! Sin is overpowered! Alleluia! Death is defeated! Alleluia! God loves us! Alleluia! Heaven is full of people, right now, just like us! Alleluia! We can go to heaven too! Alleluia! We killed Jesus Christ, but he rose from the dead! Alleluia! And he still loves us! Alleluia! We do not need to hate anymore! Alleluia! We do not need to be afraid anymore! Alleluia! We do not need to try to be rich anymore! Alleluia! Every tear will be wiped away! Alleluia! All suffering in this world will be joy in the next! Alleluia! The Devil cannot hold on to us! Alleluia! We are weak, but God is strong! Alleluia! We have been pre-accepted into heaven! Alleluia! We just have to go! Alleluia! Let us begin the journey right now! Alleluia! We are going to be rich! Alleluia! We are going to be strong! Alleluia! We are going to see what we could not see! Alleluia! We are going to meet Jesus! Alleluia! And all the saints in heaven! Alleluia! Praise God! Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!