Acts 10:34,37-43; Col 3:1-4; John 20:1-9
The Trappist monks in their eternal silence greet one another, when they meet: “Memento Mori!” that means, “Remember, you will die!” But on Easter they change this greeting and say: “Memento Vivere!” that means “Remember that you will live!” This means also that one good day we will also rise with Christ at the end of time. But it means equally well: “see to it that you live the life of the risen Lord,” if we want to rise with Him in paradise.
Christ had foretold that He would rise from the dead. In the gospel of St mark, He said: “The Son of man had to suffer much, he will be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, He will be put to death and rise three days later,” (8:31;). His resurrection proved Him right in claiming this truth of our Catholic faith. He was not a deceiver. If we can trust Him on that score we can trust Him for the rest of His teaching as well. He gave us hope of our own resurrection.
The Second World War or the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines was characterized as a period of fear, suffering, pain and shame. But when General Douglas McArthur made a promise: “I shall return!” a great joy had shown in the face of so many Filipinos. And when he did return in October 1944, joy exploded throughout the country. Our elder brothers and sisters grew up considering McArthur as the Great Liberator, though in reality it was the Filipino soldiers who fought the Japanese until the end of their lives.
Jesus’ foretold of his resurrection is a promise that filled the hearts and minds of His disciples with joy. Had he not risen from the dead, “our faith,” according to St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (15:14), would be in vain, our faith would be empty.
This resurrection of Jesus was witnessed by no other than three persons namely:
First were the women who are closed to Jesus, by the name of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. They were the one who brought the good news to His apostles. They told the apostles that the tomb was empty and this is a proof that Christ is really raised from the dead. They felt the twin emotion of fear and joy especially when appeared to them in physical reality and commanded them to tell His brothers.
Second was St. Peter. When addressing the Jews, he appeals to the authority of David by quoting Psalm 16:8-11 to explain that great event of Christ’s resurrection. “God raised this Jesus and of this we are witnesses.”
Third is the counter-testimony of the non-believers in Jesus Christ which were represented by the guards and the high priests.
According to the newly installed coadjutor bishop, Bishop Socrates Villegas of the Archdiocese of Manila, in his homily book entitled Jesus In My heart, he said that Jesus gives us two things to remember always:
First is the gift of hope. That someday, just like Him, we will be resurrected and this gift is freely given and free of charge.
Every Mass is an opportunity of gift giving. I suppose you and I are here because we want to give ourselves to God. I will ask an honest question and I want also an honest answer. After giving a gift to God, what do you expect from Him? If you expect to be spared from all dangers; if you expect to win a last-two digit game; if you expect, then, frankly speaking, you did not offer a gift you offer a bribe.
A gift is freely given without expecting any return or any reward. No gift to be taken back by the giver.
Let us ask ourselves, why are we here in this church” Is it to merit God’s kingdom? Let us always remember that God does not expect from us from us any bribe but rather faithfulness to Him.
The second thing is, to be like Him or Christ-like. The disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians in Antioch 50 years after the resurrection of Jesus. Imagine, 50 years. We become Christians through Baptism. What is so special about being a Christian? It is not simply citizenship in a particular society or membership in an organization or club. To be a Christian means, to be another Christ. This is why, baptism is called “Christening”, and we are initiated into Christ.
Is there enough proof of our life to show we are Christians? Since we are Christians, we should speak, think, smile like Jesus Christ. If we fail to do so, we fail as disciples of Jesus Christ. How can we rise with Him if we do not live His life.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle A