Easter Sunday – a message from Father Michael

COLLECT

Lord of all life and power; who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen

GOSPEL READING

John Chapter 20 Verses 1-18

From our Gospel reading we read a little about Mary Magdalene. But what do we know about her? We know she was a devout follower of Jesus; she was there at our Lord’s crucifixion and she was the first to come to the tomb on that Resurrection Sunday. It is clear that Mary loved Christ and it is her of love of Him that is the focus of how John begins his resurrection narrative. The crucifixion devastated Mary and she came to the tomb filled with grief. Her love for her Lord drove her to the tomb, she needed to be there. He was the most significant part of her life. He had changed everything for her and now she needed to be there for Him, even though, as she thought, he was dead.

We can only imagine where her faith stood at that time. She had surely heard our Lord speak of his resurrection. However, the disciples had also heard Jesus’ words and yet, after Peter and John saw the empty tomb, they returned to their homes. They had not fully understood what Jesus had told them.

Here we have faith and reality colliding. The reality of the crucifixion and trust in Jesus’ words concerning resurrection were at war in the minds and hearts of those who loved Jesus. All Mary knew was that her Lord was dead and placed in a tomb and now his body was gone.

Peter and John had come and gone; Mary had stayed. She had to; her love kept her there. Little did she know that her love for Jesus would result in the strengthening of her faith. Although everything seemed lost, she would find more than she could ever imagine.

Love overcame fear as she bent over to look into the tomb. Through her tear-filled eyes she saw two angels in white. They asked why she is crying. Then Jesus stood behind her and asked her the same question. She answers that she is crying because she believed her Lord to be dead and she thought that his body had been stolen. Her love was strong and now her faith would be strengthened. Now she would understand Jesus’ words, now faith would become reality.

Jesus said to her ‘Mary’. The Lord whom she loved spoke her name. The Lord who had called her from a life of futility had now called her to a life of possibility, a life that was even stronger than death.

Mary’s story teaches us an important truth. Even in the darkest hour, if our love for Christ is strong and it keeps us close to him, he will come to us. He will call us by name and strengthen our faith by showing us a life full of hope and possibility.

Amen

JUST A THOUGHT

We cannot contrive to fall in love, it happens involuntarily. We cannot contrive to see the point of a joke, it happens involuntarily. We cannot contrive to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. It happens involuntarily. A spontaneous force possesses us. Believing in the Resurrection is seeing, suddenly all our difficulties, disappointments, conflicts and failures and everything else that dogs our days, in a new light. And this new way of seeing allows us the conviction that everything that has the potential to deaden us can be brought to life. We will not be granted exemption from the anxieties and disappointments that are part and parcel of living. We cannot dodge them. They keep coming. Inevitably.

But what this seeing in a new light will allow us to do is to penetrate their grim outer casing and transform the cynicism and despair that otherwise would go with them and have their own way. We are then freed from the fear that these obstacles will destroy the meaning and value of our lives. And this is the truth of the Resurrection.

I commend to you the following link to a video of ‘Easter Hymn’ by Mascagni with powerful imagery and wonderful music.

SIRACH 34:19

The eyes of the Lord are on those who love him, a mighty shield and strong support, a shelter from scorching wind and a shade from noonday sun, a guard against stumbling and a help against falling.

A PRAYER

Easter reminds us that each time we deny you, Lord,

another nail is sharpened;

and each time we defy you, Lord, into your hand it’s hammered.

When faith is weak, temptation strong and courage fails,

forgive us, Lord and once again become that risen presence within our

hearts.

Amen.

May the blessings of Easter be with you and those you love at this time and throughout the coming year.

With my love and prayers,

Fthr. Michael.

About holytrinitychurch

This is the official blog site for the Anglican Church of The Holy Trinity, and the historic British Cemetery situated in the heart of the city of Funchal, on the glorious, Portuguese island of Madeira. It is hoped that this blog will encourage dialogue, however, comments deemed to be blasphemous, offensive or personal will not be published.
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