The Lord is risen, Alleluia, Alleluia! Happy Easter! On behalf of Fr. Morin, Fr. Phan and myself, I would like to wish you a holy and blessed Easter. Do you remember what happened on February 26? I will give you a hint, it was the day many received ashes on their foreheads. It was a day we decided what sacrifices we would make and spiritual exercises we would commit to in order to get ourselves ready to celebrate Easter. I pray that your Lent was a fruitful time in which you grew in faith. If, for some reason, you were lax in carrying out of your Lenten exercises, never doubt the love and mercy of Jesus, Who suffered and died so we who suffer may live forever.
The words I wrote in my bulletin article for Easter are worth repeating. The four gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus start in a similar fashion. All four evangelists waste no time stating that it was Mary Magdalene and a group of women who went to the tomb to anoint the dead body of Jesus. Piecing these gospels together, we learn that the other women were Mary, the mother of James the younger, Joses and Salome, Joanna and some others. Since there was a large stone placed over the entrance of the tomb, they wondered how they would roll it back, not to mention deal with the men guarding the entrance. They were surprised to see it had been rolled back. They encountered an angel who said, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, and tell his disciples and Peter that he is going to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you (Mark 16:6-7).”
Notice that Mary, the Mother of God was not with the women who came to the tomb to anoint Jesus. It only makes sense that she knew her son would rise and pay her a personal visit. Wasn’t it her who gave him birth and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes that cold Christmas day (Luke 26)? But of the disciples, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene, the woman whom He cast out seven demons. “Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons (Mark 16:9).”
We learn a lot from this story concerning St. Mary Magdalene. Let us have confidence that no matter what our sins are, or how many we may have, God is waiting for us to approach Him, for He wants to embrace and forgive us like the Father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).
What will a glorified body look like on the last day after the resurrection of the dead? Like the body of Jesus during His transfiguration. Jesus “Was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became bright as light (Mathew 17:2).” “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:2-4).” Jesus Himself said, “The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Mathew 13:43).”
The world has changed dramatically since Ash Wednesday, but one thing has not changed. With the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, sin and death have been definitively defeated. We were adopted with a price, namely with the blood of Jesus Christ. Let us not be sad, but rejoice and be glad. Happy Easter!