By Fr. Frank Timar, M.S.C.
On Good Friday, millions of Christians around the world joined us as we relived in our hearts and minds the death of Jesus. The first disciples ran away and hid in fear when Jesus was arrested and condemned to death on a cross after a poor excuse for a trial. Their hopes in Jesus slipped away. Jesus’ death and burial ended their dreams for a better world. That was over two thousand years ago. We were not there to witness His crucifixion and death, nor have we seen a video of it either, and yet, every Sunday, in the Creed, we confess that Jesus suffered death and was buried and rose again on the third day. No visual, no proof, and yet, we believe this; it is our profession of faith.
No one saw the resurrection. There was no reporter at the scene, so no one knows just when and how it happened. The fact remains, there was no body, and though the authorities searched everywhere, they could not find the body of Jesus. The tomb is open and empty, no one around except for a couple of angelic figures and a few devoted women. When you think about it, for something that lies at the very heart of our faith, this isn’t much to go on. Although we don’t really understand the mystery of the resurrection, it is essential to our very existence as Christians. As St. Paul puts it, “If Christ is not risen from the dead, then our faith is in vain.” And we wouldn’t have any reason to remember Jesus for so long.
But this empty tomb is more than empty. It is full of meaning. From this very empty tomb we draw our faith and hope for this world. At this empty tomb which is a symbol of defeat and death, we see victory and life itself. The empty tomb of Jesus is proof that God loves the world so much He gave His only Son, and our lives are forever intertwined with God’s life.
The resurrection is our greatest feast day! It only happened once, and never again. Some caring women came to Jesus’ gravesite and discovered the empty tomb, and from that moment the news of the empty tomb spread like wildfire, but what is even more amazing is that the followers of Jesus risked their very lives and went to their death willingly on this promise of resurrection. They believed they would see Jesus after a little time of suffering. And that has been going on ever since. People are still being persecuted in parts of our world and they are still willingly to die for their faith.
This feast of the resurrection tells us that our life and our world mean something. They are not just random events or accidents, and we are not lost among the dust and debris of history. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, everything is changed for all time. St. Paul said it so beautifully when he wrote: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” As Christians, we do not see and then believe. We believe in order to see. And what we see in the resurrection is that our lives are transformed. The resurrection of Jesus is the most real thing there is, or ever was, or ever will be.
May the resurrection of Jesus open our lives to new joys!