There were so many times in Jesus’ ministry that he told his disciples that on the third day he would be raised from death. Today is the third day. The day when the world changed forever. When His best overcame our worst. When He broke the chains of death and now we are free.
Today is that third day when our hearts are healed, our lives rescued, and we can rejoice with Alleluias. Rejoice, I say again, rejoice! It is the third day! Can I get an “Amen?”
Today is the third day when celebrate what St. Paul wrote to the Romans of long ago: “Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” Resurrection to new life. Newness of life. And so, it is right that we should cry out: Alleluia! Alleluia! We should be a people who continue to gaze in to the mystery of this story with intensity and unbridled wonder. We need to be, are called to be a people who will wake up on the fourth, fifth, sixth and all days, praising God that we have this newness of life – and then take up the herculean task of figuring out how to live this “newness” in the Resurrection.
Tomorrow will be the fourth day. The Easter baskets will be empty and the Cadbury eggs will be half-priced at the stores. So…how are we to begin living this newness of live in the Resurrection? Where will we find the inner energy to fuel a life marked by love, grace, forgiveness, and compassion? What is the next step? The disciples had that same dilemma. The Angel of the Lord told them “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee” (v. 7). On the fourth day, we need to find our Galilee. Go back to the beginning, where it all began, and meet Jesus there.
For each of us, too, there is a “Galilee” at the origin of our journey with Jesus. “To go to Galilee” means something beautiful, it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience. To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.
In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential “Galilee”: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me. Pope Francis, Easter Vigil 2014
On the fourth day, I-275/I-4/I-75 will be the same. Sacred Heart won’t have any additional parking, what annoyed us last week has great potential to remain annoying, our inclination to impatience remains, our phones will ring, the emails and texts will stack up, and our life will continue to be subject to the gravity of a galactic black hole trying to suck us back into the “oldness” of life. Lots of our life will be the same stuff, different day.
But… on the fourth day, you can be different. You can recall the Galilee moments of life. Remember the moments you were shown mercy; so, let that driver change lanes cut in front of you on the Interstate. Remember the moments you received forgiveness; so, forgive the one who asks the same questions again, again, and again. Remember the moments you were shown compassion; when you were loved without question. Do these things and more and it will be new things and a new day.
Keep doing it on the 5th, 6th, and every day – then you will become living testimony to the reality of the Resurrection.
None of us here today saw Jesus come out from the tomb. We didn’t stand beside Thomas and put our fingers into the nail marks in Jesus’ hands. We have no proof that meets the measure of science and modern history. What we have is the living testimony of the people, who on the fourth day, lived that Resurrection newness of life.
I trust in the Resurrection because I have encountered the Resurrected Christ in the newness of my own life. I have encountered him through the kindness of strangers, the love of family, the grace of friends, and forgiveness from everyone in between. People who, on the 4th, 5th, 6th day and more, remember they are in love and find the inner fuel to live the Resurrected life for all the world to see. People who again set out on the road from Galilee into the world. Not always successful, but ever faithful, and forever loved. This is the promise of the Resurrection.
May the love of Christ in His Resurrection raise us all to a newness of life –now and in all the days to come.