The Resurrection of Jesus reminds us of the glorious future awaiting us

Homily for Easter Sunday

by Fr. Tommy Lane

We are so accustomed to hearing of Jesus risen from the dead that we could say, “Oh yea…we know all about it” and miss the grace of this holy season of Easter. But think about it, Jesus rose from the dead! Death is not the end. It is only the door to beyond. Let us not allow the resurrection of Jesus to have to fight for room in our lives; let Jesus’ death and resurrection be the center of our lives. We had been waiting for this moment for thousands of years. The Old Testament shows us that history was working out God’s plan but the highpoint in God’s plan for us was the resurrection. Easter is the greatest celebration of the Church. Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that there is life beyond the grave. Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that there is more to each of us than meets the eye, that we have an immortal soul. Although our body will return to dust, our soul will live forever with God.

What is the purpose of life? What is your goal in life? Where is your heart in life? Life has only one ultimate goal, to prepare for the next life, and if you are not preparing for your own resurrection you are like a train that has become derailed. What happens to a train that gets derailed? It goes nowhere. Can you take your house to heaven with you? Then why make such a fuss about your house? Can you take your car to heaven with you? Well then, why become so engrossed in your car? Can you take your bank account to heaven with you? Use your money for the spread of the Gospel. Why are you so busy that you have no time to pray to God every day? It is God you want to meet in the next life, isn’t it? I cannot understand anyone who says they believe in God but do not pray every day. It is a contradiction to say that you believe in God but do not pray.

We have a wonderful future ahead of us. We will be resurrected like Jesus. The end of our second reading today said,

“But when Christ is revealed - and he is your life - you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.” (Col 3:4).

Also think of what we heard in our second reading,

“...the life you have is hidden with Christ in God...” (Col 3:3)

Think of the glorious future that awaits each of us. Paul wrote to the Philippians,

“For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the Savior we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body.” (Phil 3:20)

Just think of it, you will be transformed to become glorious like Jesus. Do you live like someone who believes in such a glorious future? If you do, surely everything in this world takes on a new perspective, so that, as I said earlier, we do not become possessed by our possessions. And since you will be transfigured, will be glorious like the risen Jesus, why do you not pray for a substantial amount of time every day? Do you see why I say it is a contradiction to say that you believe in God if you don’t pray? The reason we have so many problems is because we don’t pray enough. Pray, pray, pray. Again, what is life all about?

“Our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the Savior we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body.” (Phil 3:20)

John, in his first letter says something similar,

“My dear people, we are already children of God, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.” (1 John 3:2)

Why can we expect such a glorious future? Because we are baptized. That is why baptism is so important. When we are baptized we are adopted by God as his very own sons and daughters. In the same letter John says,

“Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are”(1 John 3:1).

You were adopted by God as his son or daughter on the day you were baptized. Do you see why I am saying it is crazy to get so caught up in the things of this world and not to pray? That is why in our second reading today we heard,

“...you have been brought back to true life with Christ....you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:1)

We died to an old way of life on the day we were baptized, we died to living only for this life. Think of what happened to you on the day you were baptized. You were born again. You became a son or daughter of God.

All the resurrection accounts are different and we cannot reconcile them. In the account from Mark 16 we read last night (Year B) three women came to the tomb. In the account from John 20 this morning, firstly Mary Magdalene and then Peter and John go to the tomb. One of the things all the resurrection accounts have in common is the stone rolled back from the entrance to the tomb. Have you allowed a stone to prevent you from meeting the risen Jesus? Have you allowed the stone of becoming engrossed in what you have and own and what others have and own to block your way to Jesus? You were adopted as God’s son or daughter on the day you were baptized. If you are not living like a son or daughter of God roll away the stone. If you are not happy, that is a sure sign that the stone needs to be rolled away in your life. If you knew the risen Jesus you would have such joy in your heart that you nothing else could give you. Think of our second reading today, “...the life you have is hidden with Christ in God...” (Col 3:3) Think of the total change that occurred in Paul’s life after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. You must roll away the stone for that. Listen once again to part of our second reading today,

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on things that are on the earth, because you have died and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3)

God has adopted you as his son or daughter. Thank God for this most wonderful privilege. If you had met the risen Jesus you would certainly know it. If you haven’t yet met the risen Jesus, roll away the stone and meet Jesus.

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on things that are on the earth, because you have died and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3)

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for Easter Sunday

Jesus Risen is the Light of the World 2008

Christ is Risen! 2011

Related Homilies: excerpts of funeral homilies

belief in the resurrection (excerpt of funeral homily)

cloth over Jesus’ head, The Sudarium

stories about the next life and death