Homily for the Easter Vigil: Mk 16:1–7 ‘There is no need for alarm’

What a week it has been. It began with Our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, as the Messiah, God’s Anointed. As the week goes on the feelings of triumph begin to change. After showing his disciples how God loves them, after feeding them with his body and blood, setting them apart for the service of his people, he goes out to pray. He is taken, falsely accused, tried and condemned to die. The joy and elation has now turned to sorrow, to anguish, and desolation. It looks as though he has failed, he has been rejected and killed. It looks like it’s all over.
          The women go to the tomb to perform the burial rituals which were delayed by the Sabbath, now that it is over they can go, and prepare Our Lord for his burial. They cannot understand what is going on, the stone has been rolled away, the tomb is empty. Their emptiness turns to horror: has someone taken him? They greet the angel’s message with amazement, what’s going on? Can it be true? Is this what he meant when he told us that he would rise again after three days?
          In the silence since Friday afternoon, God has been both passive and active: breaking down the gates of Hell, and leading souls to Heaven. The triumph of the Son of God is after reigning on the tree, restoring humanity to the loving embrace of God, to open the way to heaven for all humanity, where we may share in the outpouring of God’s love, which is the life of the Trinity. His death means that our death is not the end, that we have an eternal destiny, a joy and bliss beyond our experience or understanding. Ours is the greater joy, greater since we know what we are celebrating, that we are the people of God, an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.
          So let our hearts be filled with joy, having died with Christ and raised to new life with him. Let us take that new life, and live it, in our thoughts, our words, and deeds, and share that life with others that the world may believe, that what happened outside a city two thousand years ago has changed all of human history and is still changing lives today. Christ died and is alive so that we and all the earth may have life and have it to the full.
May I wish you all a Happy and Joyous Easter!

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