Acts 10:34-43 or Is. 25:6-9
Ps. 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Cor. 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43
John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

Last night, in darkness, the church gathered for the great Easter Vigil. A fire was kindled, symbolizing the light of the risen Lord. The deacon chanted the Exsultet, announcing the presence of heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, the round earth, and Mother Church joined around this radiant light. Readers led the congregation through the story of salvation in a series of Old Testament passages. In unison, parishioners renewed their baptismal vows. Finally, in a dramatic moment, after the lighting of altar candles from the paschal flame, the first “Alleluia” of Easter erupted.

Christ has broken the bonds of death and set us free. In the words of the psalmist, “the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. I shall not die, but I shall live” (Ps. 118:16-17a). Millions and millions of Christian people live and breathe this hope, walk in this faith, because they have met the risen Lord.

St. Paul, telling how Jesus appeared to him, summarizes nearly the whole Christian story. He says, “I handed on to you as of first importance what I, in turn, received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters. … Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared to me” (1 Cor. 15:3-8). His expression “last of all” is an indication of humility, not a statement that such appearances stopped with him. Jesus Christ is still showing himself alive, in nature, in Scripture, in tradition, the sacraments, signs, and wonders, and in every victory, small or great, of life over death.

Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ may come suddenly, as it did for St. Paul. It may come slowly and by degrees. St. John Chrysostom says of Mary Magdalene: “[It was] as if a door was being opened for her, she was led little by little to the knowledge of the Resurrection.”

She came to the tomb and found it empty. She ran to Peter and the beloved disciple, who both ran to the grave, finding it empty, as she said. The beloved disciple saw and believed, but there is no indication he believed in the Resurrection, as these words immediately follow, “For as yet they did not understand the scriptures, that he must rise from the dead” (John 20:9).

Mary stands weeping. She wept at the cross. She wept, no doubt, on her way to the tomb. She weeps agonizing tears over the theft and desecration of the body of Jesus. Where will she go to show her devotion and love? As she stands there, she meets a gardener. He draws her out by asking, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” (John 20:15) Mary asks about the body of Jesus and asks to take it away. Jesus, whom she thinks is the gardener, says to her, “Mary!” At that moment, she recognizes him and believes.

In the ancient story of creation, the Lord gave Adam the power to name every living being. “Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name” (Gen. 2:19). Jesus, the Second Adam, calls us each by name. When he calls, he reveals himself alive and makes us participants in his new and glorious life! Turn toward him and listen!

Look It Up: Acts 10:41

Think About It: We hear him in his Word and eat and drink with him in the Eucharist.