The Meaning of Resurrection for Us Today

Jesus wants us to live our lives in the joy that the Resurrection promises.

Recently I saw a quote that went something like this: “If Easter says anything to us today, it says this: You can put the truth in a grave but it won’t stay there.” God, the One Who Is the source and goal of all that is good, true, and beautiful, who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow revealed the truth to us in his Son, Jesus Christ. What is that truth?

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The truth that the Resurrection reveals to us is that this world is not all there is. Death is no longer the end to be feared, it does not have the final say. Bishop Robert Barron writes in his reflection on Mary Magdalen’s encounter with the two angels and Jesus in the garden after he has risen in Jn 20:11-18, that because of the Resurrection, “we no longer have to live as though death is our master…we can begin to see the world as a place of gestation, a place of growth and maturation toward a higher, more permanent, and more splendid” reality.

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Mary of Magdala reveals us to ourselves. We can take heart in her, as she is one of us, a sinner. She, who had been possessed by seven demons, had been healed by Jesus’ love for her, even in her fallenness, and became one of his most loyal of disciples, remaining with him through everything, even the cross. She is the first person to see and to speak to the risen Jesus. For this reason, some biblical scholars call her the Apostle to the Apostles, as she was commissioned by Jesus to go and tell the good news to the disciples that she had, indeed, seen the risen Jesus in person. It was true!

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Jesus wants us to be his disciples today. He wants us to live our lives in the joy that the Resurrection promises. We are called to be a people of faith, hope and love, free to live without fear, no longer shackled by death, but free to live every moment of our lives loving God with our whole hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and our neighbors as ourself. For we know that the world, for all of its real and imagined powers, could not then, and can not now, put the truth of God’s love for us in a grave. It will not stay there.

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The Resurrection is real. It happened. As the poet, Ann Voskamp, writes: “If the tomb wasn’t empty, I would be./ If the tomb wasn’t empty,/ our hope would be. If the tomb wasn’t empty,/ our hearts would be./ Only because the tomb is empty/ can life be/ fulfilling.” Because the tomb is empty, we can, like Mary Magdalene, joyfully report to all who have ears that hear, eyes that see, and hearts that are open, “He Is Risen! Alleluia!” And all things find their deepest meaning and purpose in this truth. Thanks be to God! Amen!

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