April 20 and 21, 2019
Alleluia! Resurrexit sicut dixit! He has risen as he said, rejoice and be glad, but why? Jesus rose from the dead over two thousand years ago and to many people in our cynical twenty-four-hour news cycle and internet world the response is “big deal, what’s he done for me lately?”
That attitude is too bad because that action of resurrection has had such a profound effect on our lives. Besides the “wow” factor, the idea that a human being can actually be raised from the dead and enjoy the benefits of eternal life in that altered state is simply mind boggling. The message of hope should make all believers stand up, cheer and impart that joy and hope into every aspect of our lives.
The reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Church at Colossus recalls the ancient Jewish custom of ridding the entire house of leavening agents for the Passover festival. This purging of old leaven made it necessary for a family to renew their supply of leaven with fresh and new agents that would enable the baking of wholesome bread that would not sicken the consumers. What a great metaphor for our Easter celebration. We need to renew our own yeast so that our agents for growth can be fresh and new and not sicken those who consume our presence and our own witness to the Gospel message of Jesus. If we really entered into the renewal of the Lenten season, our own leaven is fresh and life-giving, and we now look with new eyes on the remarkable feat of the resurrection of Jesus.
In the Gospel, the disciples of Jesus encounter a tomb that has been purged of its own old leavening agent. The “old, dead” Jesus of the Good Friday tragedy is nowhere to be seen. Instead they encounter a “new” and renewed Jesus who has completely revealed his true nature as Son of God and Savior of all of humankind and is ready to lead us into our final push for redemption of the world. As Christians, we have always seen ourselves as agents and coworkers with Jesus in this remaking of the world. We can only do that if we roll back the stones of our own tombs of selfishness, pettiness and sin. When we change our own leaven, we can change our world. That idea alone should merit a hearty Alleluia.