Archbishop Homily: Easter Sunday
Sunday 21 April 2019
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
What does Resurrection look like? I don’t mean resuscitation – we can all work out what that looks like. Resuscitation changed nothing: it is the same body; the same life; the same future. When Lazarus was resuscitated by his friend Jesus, it was certainly a miraculous thing. But Lazarus himself was the same Lazarus. No one wondered who emerged from the tomb, no one questioned if it was him.
Resurrection is not resuscitation. It is something entirely different. So, what does resurrection look like? Its look is captured beautifully and simply in the gospel accounts of the resurrection. Significantly, we do not find there any descriptions of what Jesus’ resurrected body actually looked. Apart from the moment when he showed Thomas the wounds from his crucifixion, we have no physical record of the Risen Lord.
What we do have are stories of puzzlement and unbelief and amazement and wonder. We have reports of those who met Jesus that are honestly recounted, but hard to fathom. There are questions asked; astonishments expressed; accounts given; and stories checked. But most especially, the stories of the resurrection of Jesus bear witness to one crucial thing: His risen presence brought joy and hope to his friends. Jesus Christ is alive!
Some 2000 years later, buried under the weight of history, the honesty of those first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection can become lost. We can allow the world-wearied and the trending orthodoxies to weigh down and obscure what was once told plainly and honestly, with joy and hope. Yet, that simple witnessing is what matters. The first witnesses of the Resurrection were ordinary people who saw and touched, who heard from and experienced something entirely new in the world – not a resuscitated body, but a resurrected person. Of course they were puzzled and amazed; incredulous and excited. Wouldn’t you be?
These same honest witnesses, moreover, wanted nothing more than to share this news with others; not for their own benefit, not as a bit of gossip, but so that others could also share in this risen life given to them. So, what was their experience of resurrection like? It looked and sounded like this: Jesus Christ is alive; and he wants us to be alive in him!
The Risen Jesus first gave up his life for us, so that He could come back to share his everlasting life with us. And his resurrected life came with a gift: the grace and strength to set out on a new path with him, fuelled by Easter energy. This is what makes Christ’s resurrection a joy and hope: it’s not what his resurrected body might look like that matters; it’s what his resurrected presence gives to us.
As shattered and as wounded as our local Church can seem at this time, and as belittled as Christianity is among the cynical elites of today, the Risen Lord, in his gloriously resurrected body, is still inviting us to share in his life and to walk with him.
So today, with our wounds transfigured under the radiance of an Easter dawn, let us run with Mary Magdalene and with Peter the Apostle, to greet our future with Christ. We run with hope in our hearts. We run to tell others this news. And we run because Christ is showing us the way. Keep running, friends, because Jesus Christ is alive, he wants us to be alive in Him, and he gives us the gift to run with him!