Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Sunday Mass - Mar 31, 2024 - Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Cardinal Blase Cupich
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Homily Video

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord Homily Transcript

Again, a blessed easter to all of you, especially those who are watching from their homes or their hospital beds or in homes that you have taken now, your residence. It’s good that we have this opportunity to come together. I’m so grateful for Mercy Home for organizing it and keeping this as a real part of the celebration of Sunday, but also of Easter that we have today. There’s really something very specific we should keep in mind about the kind of literature that gospels are.

They’re not just chronicles of past events, histories that are recorded of events that happened in the life of Jesus or maybe even a travel log of where Jesus went. But rather, scripture scholars have pointed out that it is a kind of literature that is inspired to create, as those gospels are proclaimed in every age, the same experience that those disciples had who were living at the time of Jesus.  There are little time capsules, almost time bombs, that explode into our own time to give us an understanding, not just about what happened to Jesus, but which interpret our lives as well. Which help us understand something about what it means to be a human being, of how we are to live our lives.

And so today, let’s keep that in mind here as we hear this gospel text, to see it as a window into what god is trying to show us about the importance of our lives, the aspects of our life that maybe we should re-examine. The first thing that we notice is that Mary of Magdalene comes in the scene early in the morning while it’s still dark and we’re told that it’s the first day of the week. 

That in some way connects with what we see in the book of Genesis, the first day that was also dark. It was the first day in which creation happened. So the sense here is that Easter is an opportunity for us to understand that the Lord gives us once again a new moment, a new chance in life. So often we find that the days go by so one right after another and the calendar pages just flip one after another and we lose track of any given day. But today we are being reminded of how the Lord has given us so many chances, so many times in which we can start again.

And today is a day to see that there is something new that can happen. We need that kind of outlook because so often our faults of the past are the things that happen to us, weigh us down and we begin to convince ourselves that our lives are really complete and over. That there is no new horizon.

I was with the holy father earlier in the year and asked him to do a recording for the people that i visit who are incarcerated at Cook County jail because i go there every Christmas and easter. And he said to them something very interesting. He said, “i always want you to keep in mind that there is always another horizon for your life. That your life isn’t over. That there is something more that the Lord is calling you to. And being in prison isn’t the last statement about who you are. That’s so true for each one of us.”

I always like that story too of this family that had a farm in Iowa and when these teenage boys who were 14, 15 and 17 lost their father to an early death, the mother was thinking about selling the farm and they convinced her, “give us a chance.  Let us try at least to see Whether or not we can make a go of it.”

So they worked hard that fall and planted the winter wheat and the winter wheat that spring came up so wonderfully. It was just an abundant crop and they knew they were going to have a real success to be able to keep the farm. But one night there was a great storm and hail came and decimated everything. All their hard work had gone for naught and they were out in the field sitting there crying. The mother came out to them seeing this scene of her dejected sons and all of these hailstones all around. Simply said to them, “okay boys, gather up those hailstones. We’re going to make ice cream for the neighbors.”  

[Audience chuckles]  

What she did was she took away their sense that what had happened, this great tragedy, was the end all of their life and work. That there was something else, another horizon that they could have. That’s what Mercy Home does.  It gives young people a chance to see beyond the challenges that they faced or the way that life has short-changed them and give them a new horizon. Give them an opportunity to see that there is something more than maybe the hardships that they have suffered and the challenges that they face.

And so i think all of you who are here today and those watching who support mercy home, you in some way not only  witness to how Jesus gives us always a second chance in life as we hear about on this day  of the resurrection, but also you work to give people a second chance.

The second thing that we notice in the gospel is that on this first day of a new creation, there’s no dead body. Mary goes to the tomb.  The tomb is empty. It’s a reminder that easter relativizes death. When Jesus rose from the dead, he also gave us the possibility of new life to rise with him as we hear in the second reading. So death is not the period  at the end of the sentence  of our lives. And it’s good for us  to every so often reflect on that. How much power do we give  over to death in our lives to create fears about ourselves?

Or maybe to so invest in this world that we don’t give any thought to eternal life. They tell the story of how  St. Jerome always had on his desk a skull,  not because he was somewhat morose or morbid, but because he wanted to remember that in fact he would die some day, but he would be able to look  at death in the face  and not be afraid of it.

So often in society we allow death to have a power  to the point that we’re very easy to go to war over difficulties rather than trying to solve problems diplomatically. Or we think that the death penalty is needed in order  to squash out a person’s life or even assisted suicide  to deal with someone’s pain when in fact that  is not the case. Death can’t be the answer  to problems because we cannot give power over to death.  Jesus has conquered it. There is no dead body  in that tomb. And it’s a reminder that each one of us have the opportunity to live with Jesus forever. And that is how we are to live our lives with  that real freedom, a freedom from fear of death.

And the final thing that we notice is that those who were with Jesus, and we hear about this  in the opening reading  from acts of the apostles, how is it that they were able  to sustain a sense of god  giving them a second chance in this new creation and not to be afraid of death? Well, they witnessed to Jesus being present to them, Jesus being present to them  as they ate and drank with him. Isn’t that what we do  at the eucharist? 

We believe that Jesus is present and he in fact comes  to eat and drink with us. 

The day of the resurrection, this easter day, gives us a special insight  into what the eucharist  is all about. It’s not just about coming to mass because  of an obligation. But it is to have an experience of the risen lord who is there to eat  and drink with us, to remind us that in fact  he gives us another chance, but also that death  is overcome. Death does not define who we are because he comes back from the dead to eat and drink with us. So today, let’s take seriously what this day of the Lord’s resurrection is all about as we hear in the scriptures today. It’s a reminder that the Lord today, once again as he is so often in our lives, 

Gives us another chance to see a new horizon about our lives, that we should not give in to those kinds of doubts and fears, disappointments and challenges that maybe can cripple us thinking that we have no future. But it’s also a day to once again not allow death to have its grip on us, creating a fear about life, but that we have a lord who has conquered death. And we really believe that we will live forever, that this short span of our lives that we live here on earth is nothing compared to the incredible eternity that is given to each one of us. 

And finally, as we come to the eucharist, as we celebrate the eucharist today, 

Really believe that the risen lord comes into our midst to eat and drink with us, 

To once again give us the confidence that the resurrection is not just about Jesus, but as we hear in that reading from Colossians, that we too rise from the dead. We too are given new life. 

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