Fr. Peter Patrick’s Homily for Sunday, April 4, 2021:
Easter means a new beginning. After forty days of fasting, praying, almsgiving, and giving up our old habits and sinful ways, we all have many reasons to celebrate our restoration to a new life. As the body of Jesus that rose on Easter morning was totally different from the body of Jesus that was buried on Good Friday afternoon, we need to be different after Lent.
Mary Magdalene’s discovery of the empty tomb and her observation of the removal of the stone symbolizes Jesus’ victory over the power of death and darkness; all that we said we were going to give up during Lent. She who is in darkness (i.e. one who lacks faith in the resurrection) goes in search of the One who is the Light of the world. According to John, a disciple is one who constantly looks for or is in search of the Master (1:38). That is why, later on, when Jesus appears to her he asks her: “Woman…whom are you looking for?” (20:15) Mary Magdalene, being a woman disciple, goes to the tomb not to anoint the body of Jesus (as Synoptic Gospels say), but in search of the One whom she loved most. Her loving devotion will be rewarded later on with the gift of a special appearance (20:14-15).
Like Mary, Peter, and the Beloved Disciple, we arrive at our understanding of the resurrection of Jesus at different speeds, each at our own pace. The question arises; how do we witness Jesus in our lives? In the Gospel of John, we hear that Mary first thought someone stole Jesus’ body, and Peter was perplexed at what he saw. The Beloved Disciple is the first one who understood what had taken place. For us to fully understand who Jesus is in our midst, we need Mary, Peter and the Beloved Disciple. We need these three movements to become beloved disciples.
When the Beloved Disciple went inside the tomb, he saw the same thing Peter saw, but Peter did not have an immediate response or reaction. But when the Beloved Disciple went in, he saw and believed promptly that Jesus had risen from the dead (20:9). Both of them see the same thing in the tomb (the linen wrappings lying there), but only the Beloved Disciple sees it with the eyes of faith, thus believes in the resurrection immediately (20:8). The intensity of his love towards Jesus stimulates faith instantly.
Each one of us can become the beloved disciple of the Risen Lord through the intensity of our love for Him. This love enables us to run faster to Him than before, and recognize His powerful presence promptly in all situations, especially among the needy. HE IS RISEN! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! HE IS RISEN!