Homily – The Resurrection of the Lord, The Mass of Easter Day [i]

Most Reverend José H. Gomez

Archbishop of Los Angeles

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

April 1, 2018

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ: 

Happy Easter to you all!

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! Let us rejoice today as the family of God!

Today we stand at his empty tomb — and we feel the same amazement of those first disciples. 

How can this be possible?  

On Good Friday, we stood at the foot of the Cross with Mary his Mother and St. Mary Magdalene. And we witnessed what we heard in that first reading — “they put him to death by hanging him on a tree.”

So how can it be possible that he is risen?

Today, we stand at the empty tomb. And we hear the words that the angel spoke to those first disciples touch our hearts.  

He said to them, “Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.”

For us — this is all impossible. But for God — all things are possible![ii] So, Christ is Risen!  “He has been raised; he is not here.”

On this Easter Sunday we need to let the light from that empty tomb fill our lives with joy, with true hope.

We celebrate today — the truth of who Jesus is.

He is truly risen from the dead and this confirms — without a doubt — that he was who he said he was. He truly is the Son of God.

For us, that means his teaching is true, it is the Word of God for our lives. And that means we can give our lives to him, put our trust in his words and that path he calls us to follow as children of God in the Church.

And today, once again, he is holding out his hand to you and to me. He is calling us to live a new life — walking in his footsteps and by his light; following on the path of life that he sets before us. A path that we know is true — because he has truly risen!

The empty tomb of Easter opens our lives and our world to the promise of eternity. We now know that the journey we are making on earth — if we follow the way of Jesus — will lead to heaven.

St. Paul tells us today in that second reading:

If then you were raised with Christ …

Think of what is above, not what is on earth. …

When Christ your life appears,

then too you will appear with him in glory.

Because he has risen — we know that we will rise! So, we can trust in Jesus. We can live now with our eyes fixed on him — who died once to live forever. 

So today, let us try to set aside any sadness, anxieties or troubles. And let us try to keep our eyes on heaven and the promise of the Resurrection. 

Jesus calls us now to follow him from the empty tomb — to go out into the world and really live!

He is calling us to see our lives as a gift of love that God gives us. He is calling us to see everything we do as a work of love that we offer to God and to our brothers and sisters.

When we truly understand this path that Jesus is calling us to walk with Him — it really gives our lives a new meaning and a new direction.

He calls us to spend our lives in the service of others, giving them life and hope and sharing his joy. Love is life-giving or it is not real love.

So, my brothers and sisters, let us open our hearts to the light of Christ and the love of God.

Let us walk with him in friendship and holiness. Let us share his light and serve our brothers and sisters — so that everyone will know his love and the new life he offers us.

This is the joy of Easter! Joy is knowing that God loves us. Joy is knowing that our lives have a meaning and a direction!   

My brothers and sisters, heaven for us begins right here on earth. Right here at this empty tomb of Jesus.

Let us never forget that if we stand with Jesus, he will stand with us. If we go with Jesus, he will accompany us along every path of our journey.

And let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to accompany us along the road to heaven.

Happy Easter to all of you and I pray that this will be a time of love and sharing — and hope and joy for you and your families.

[i] Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37–43; Ps. 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23; Col. 3:1–4; Mark 16:. 1–7.

[ii] Mark 10:27.