I can appreciate the unsettled confusion of two women at an empty tomb. Surprised by what they find, news of Jesus’ resurrection is initially too good to comprehend or believe. God’s victorious grace, great news quite simply, overwhelms.
Recently I was confronted about death. Some friends were concerned that “rest in peace” meant that their deceased father is, in essence, waiting nervously, for his day of judgement. I was caught a little off guard by the questions, but after some discussion managed to convince them that to rest in peace is to rest in peace -not fear.
These folks, being good (Irish) Catholics, are never ungrateful, or take for granted, God’s generosity – they are, in fact, well disposed to terror and amazement.
I think much more so than most of us (today), though, the first Christians were confident in what God gives. They believed that, as St. Paul says, Christ died once and for all and that they therefore need not fear what lies ahead. Because to die with Christ as we do in baptism is to rise as our Lord rises –which in theory is to live in hope, confident that God has already judged us, and judged us well.
How terrifying and amazing is a God who judges me righteous?
For those received into the church today, you who are newly baptised and confirmed, I would expect feelings similar to terror and amazement. For we who are baptised into new ways of knowing God, what our Lord truly accomplishes for us, meet healthy doses of fear and awe.
As believers in a God who dies and rises, we are called to embrace what God has done.
Like Mary and Mary we are sent to meet our crucified Messiah as raised, the gift of mercy and love without bounds, a God who has won.
Unlike our ancestors, whom we heard so much about while in darkness tonight, no longer do we wait for peace -our Prince has arrived.
So as we go forth in hope of resurrection, the gift God gives, might we encounter terror and amazement. May we discover just how generous God is and be overwhelmed.