During Lent, in our scripture journey towards today, we have heard that the disciples saw Jesus Transfigured on a mountain in the presence of Moses and Elijah, they witnessed Jesus restore sight to a man who had been blind since birth and raise Lazarus from the dead. Today we hear of the reaction of Peter and John when they are told by Mary Magdala that Jesus’ tomb is empty. They set off running and find the tomb empty and the burial cloths discarded. We hear that when St John entered the tomb and saw this that ‘he believed’. I wonder why after everything else he had witnessed, why in this final sign; there is the emphasis on ‘he believed’?

Surely the other signs given before the crucifixion, would be enough? Obviously not. Restoring someone’s sight and raising another from the dead were events which gave Jesus a notoriety and helped to make up the minds of the Chief Priests that they had to kill Jesus. These wise scholars, who knew the Torah inside out, could not see who the man in front of them was, they missed the Messiah they had been waiting for; their eyes were not opened when the blind man’s sight was restored, and they rejected eternal life when Lazarus was restored to life. Only now are the disciples starting to grasp the enormity of the story they have become an integral part of. Only now, when they see the empty tomb are they starting to believe what Jesus had taught them.

If we concentrate on St John for a moment, notice, when he looked into the tomb, he saw the linen cloths and Jesus no longer there. His belief didn’t come through what he saw with his physical eyes, but through his eyes of faith. The same eyes that we as believers use when we encounter Jesus through the Sacraments. Through our eyes of faith we become witnesses for Jesus, we become evangelists as we go about our everyday tasks. We share the Good News, Jesus is alive, He is Risen, we rejoice and are glad.

As Christians we are called to take this joy out into the world. A world that is lost and broken. We are called to share this Easter joy wherever we go, for us as Christians this is the happiest time of the year; this is when we are reminded of the promises made by Jesus at our baptism. When we were baptised we descended into the grave with Jesus, the waters of baptism cleansed us, shedding our dependence on the flesh and connecting us with our brother Jesus as we become adopted children of God.

In the first reading we hear Peter bearing witness to what he had seen, he reminds the audience that Jesus was killed and rose from the dead, he tells them that he has eaten and drunk with the Risen Lord. He tells them that those who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name. Jesus, has risen from the dead, he calls every one of us to a relationship with him and he wants us to rise from the dead with him. Alleluia!

Today is a day when Christians, remind ourselves of the promises made at our Baptism, either through the Creed or a renewal of our Baptismal Promises. That Baptism made once, because we can only die once. Our Baptism, joins us with Christ, our Baptism is the start of our journey with Christ towards the Father, it is a journey which is sealed and enriched by the presence of the Holy Spirit. As we remember these promises, we renew our commitment to live out those promises; to follow the commandments to love God and love our neighbour. As we profess our faith, we reject satan, we reject sin, we reject all that is evil and embrace the Holy Trinity. We accept the responsibilities of being a child of God and we pray that we can live up to our responsibilities.

Apart from all of the delicious chocolate Easter eggs, one of my earliest memories of Easter was when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I had been in hospital for an eye operation alongside my brother, we got out of hospital on Holy Saturday and went to Mass on Easter Sunday. It was one of the first days that I was outside with my eye uncovered. At this time of year, the sun is still quite low in the sky and I remember how bright the light felt. It was painful and made my eyes water. For me this is still symbolic of the intensity of the light that first Easter morning at the moment when Jesus rose from the dead.

We are called to live in the light, to walk towards the light and to bring light to others. May this Easter remove darkness from our world and restore light and joy to everyone. May we take our Alleluias out into the world and not save them for inside the church building. May others notice the joy we feel and ask us to share that joy with them. May we all be filled with the peace of our risen Christ.

As mentioned in previous reflections, I am taking part in The Big Lent Walk for Cafod. The plan was to walk 200km during Lent. By the end of Holy Thursday I had managed to walk 300.3km and have raised £625 for Cafod. I’d like to express my thanks for those who have sponsored me and all of those taking part in the Big Lent Walk, either as individuals or as part of Parish Groups.

If you are able to donate, and would like to support me, my page is https://cafod.enthuse.com/pf/tony-darroch

All donations are gratefully received.

Further Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

CC 638-655, 989, 1001-1002: the Resurrection of Christ and our resurrection
CCC 647, 1167-1170, 1243, 1287: Easter, the Lord’s Day
CCC 1212: the Sacraments of Initiation
CCC 1214-1222, 1226-1228, 1234-1245, 1254: Baptism
CCC 1286-1289: Confirmation
CCC 1322-1323: Eucharist

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • The success of the pastoral area formation programme ‘The Wild Goose’ which we are using as part of the Year of the Holy Spirit.
  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
  • All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
  • Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • All who are preparing to receive Sacraments for the first time especially Tanya Sidley who is being received into the Church at the Easter Vigil.
  • Those attending the RCIA programme at St Bede’s on Wednesday evenings.
  • Those discerning a vocation.
  • Dominic and Zoe who will be baptised at the 11am Mass on Easter Sunday in St Bede’s.