by Frank Sevola, OFM
Easter is just the beginning!
The central message of the Easter celebration is that Jesus lives among us – and like the women at the tomb, we must go out and proclaim that good news.
Accounts of the empty tomb do not prove that Jesus rose from the dead. What makes us believe in the resurrection is the faith and proclamation of the women at the tomb. Even when they meet Jesus on the road, he tells them to keep on going, find those disciples, and tell them what you have witnessed. Share your faith with them, they are told.
The same Lord gives us the same commandment today. Everything we do today – all that we hear and see and smell and touch and taste must propel us out of the church and into the world to proclaim the good news. We must go out and share our faith.
If we believe what we are celebrating today that Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead, then the way we live should demonstrate this. We will live lives that are peaceful and nonviolent, rather than lives controlled by fear and indifference. We will be people who witness to the truth and to life, rather than submit to malice and wickedness. We will be people who welcome the stranger and give comfort to the afflicted, rather than ignore and humiliate the ones who are different.
The resurrection forces us to be people who get beyond our comfort zone, and proclaim that Jesus Christ is risen, by the radical and inclusive way that we live. We will live lives that give witness to our baptismal vows that we renewed on Easter. That is the best way to share our faith.
Ultimately, we take the resurrection on faith, and faith is not something we are supposed to understand. Faith is confusing and challenging. The proclamation of the women to the disciples was a proclamation of faith – and to be sure, those poor disciples were confused and challenged.
If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that this whole notion of resurrection confuses and challenges us, too. I think the only way we can get beyond the confusion is by accepting the challenge that the resurrection places before us. And the challenge is this: to love and forgive, and to live lives of peace. It is the challenge to live our faith and to proclaim our faith to all we meet along the way.