April 24, 2011
Easter Sunday: Solemnity of the Resurrection of The Lord
Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9

Last August 5th, we remember the thirty-tree miners who were trapped in the collapsed mine in Chile. At first we believed this to be another tragic mining accident with no hope of survival. Miraculously, after seventeen days a note was retrieved from a probe dug deep in the mine with the words written by one of the trapped
miners in red letters, "All 33 of us are fine in the shelter." President Sebastian Pinera cried as he announced this to his people saying, "Today all of Chile is crying with excitement and joy," After sixty nine days the world watched as these miners were pulled out of the mine one by one to begin a new life.

This is the joy we celebrate on Easter Sunday. Today all the world is crying with excitement and joy as we realize that we no longer live in the darkness and hopelessness of this world. Jesus our Savior has emerged from the darkness of death and the cave to new life. One by one we will also have the chance to emerge from the darkness of this world to new life. A life line has been dropped down to us; there is light emerging in our world and a fresh air to give us new life. Jesus has risen from the dead!
Just as the miners were able to share in some of the life of the outside world through the shaft that was drilled for them, we are able to share in Divine life through the sacramental life of the Church. The journey from death into life begins for us through the
Sacrament of Baptism. Previous to the Easter Vigil this year, because he was moving, one of the members of our R.C.I.A. group received an early baptism at an evening Mass. Those at the ceremony were all moved to watch the joy of Uwvie Obodo and his mother, Debra, as he received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The tears of joy on his mother’s face were not much different from the tears shed by the mothers as they watched their children pulled from the tomb of the Chilean mine. The joy of Uwvie will be shared by those receiving their sacraments on the Easter Vigil, the joy of those receiving the Sacrament of
Confirmation the following Sunday, and our youth on May 15th. It is this joy that our children will receive as they make their First Holy Communion and that we receive when we are renewed in the sacraments of the Church. The joy of his mother will be the joy of countless mothers and fathers as they watch their children emerge from the font of baptism or share in the Bread of Life.

This new life in Christ is offered to all of us; the key is that we have to BELIEVE. The miners trapped in the mine were about to lose hope when the probe emerged telling them that they were not forgotten by the world. To live they needed to believe that there was hope. God has sent many probes into our world and into our individual lives giving us hope, through His death and Resurrection Jesus has given us a lifeline to share in the divine life of heaven.
During the last few Sundays the Gospels have been filled with stories of people who have emerged from darkness into lives of hope. The Samaritan woman at the well found the fountain of life giving water (John 4:5-42); the man born blind from birth was given the sight of faith (John 9:1-41) ;and Martha, Mary and Lazarus were saved from their tombs of grief, sin and death through the
compassion of our Lord (John 11:1-45). They all received new life as they came to believe. Through Martha, Jesus will ask all of us that question. “Do you believe?” These stories will be set as contrast to the Pharisees and other Jews who persisted in their unbelief and remained blind in their sin.

Today’s Gospel tells the story of the day of the resurrection. Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved ran to the tomb. Peter arrived first and saw the burial cloths, but did not go in. The other disciple entered, “Saw and believed” (John 20:9). Traditionally we have always understood the “other disciple to be St. John, however, the Evangelist purposely never uses his name, because we are all called to be that “beloved disciple” who believed and shared in the Divine life of Christ.

The struggles of our lives seem like they are endless and it is very easy to be overwhelmed by the darkness of this world. This world can be darker and more hopeless than a miner’s shaft buried deep in the earth. When we live without purpose we are just wandering in the darkness. Today we celebrate that there is no reason for us to live in darkness. Jesus has come into the world to give us light and emerged from this world through the Resurrection to give us the
radiant beatific light of God’s face. Jesus’ words to Thomas in next Sunday’s Gospel are also for us today, “Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!” (John 20:27).

God Bless,
Rev John F. Provenza

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