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The Day of Resurrection; Easter Sunday

ReadingsActs 10: 34-43; Psalm 118: 1-2,14-24; I Corinthians 15: 1-11; John 20: 1-18

What are you looking for?  In the Gospel according to St. John this question runs deep.  It begins in the first chapter with John the Baptist and his disciples

…John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he
watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb
of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this and they followed
Jesus.  When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to
them, “What are you looking for?”  They said to him, “Rabbi”
(which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  He said to them,
“Come and see.”
John 1: 35-39

This is more than an invitation to follow, it is an invitation to participate in ministry. 

In the garden of Gethsemane, led by Judas, a detachment of soldiers and police from the chief priests and Pharisees arrive with lanterns, with torches, and with weapons.  Jesus comes forward and asks them

“Whom are you looking for?”  They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus replied, “I am he.” …they stepped back and fell to the ground.
Again, he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”
John 18: 4b-8a

And for a third time in the Gospel according to St. John

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary
Magdalene came to the tomb.
  John 20: 1

After running to tell Simon Peter and the unnamed disciple who run to the tomb, find it empty, return to their homes.  Mary, however, returns to the empty tomb.

She stood weeping outside the tomb.  As she wept, she bent over
to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where
the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at
the feet.  They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  She
said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where
they have laid him.”  When she had said this she turned around and saw
Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said
to her, “Woman, why are you weeping.  Whom are you looking for?”
John 20: 11-15a

The question Jesus asks of John the Baptist’s disciples, of the soldiers and temple police, and of Mary Magdalene is the same question we ask.

What are we looking for?

Whom are we looking for?

This is the question of life itself.

As for me, I am looking for the one who defeats death!  The evidence at the tomb is clear.  There was not theft of a body.  The linens were neatly folded; the head wrapping rolled up by itself.  This scene is very different from the text of Lazarus being raised from the dead. (John 11:38-44).  Lazarus stumbles out of the tomb.  Jesus instructs his family and friends to unwrap him and set him free.  Jesus rolls away the stone, and Jesus frees himself from the wrappings of death. 

This is the one I am looking for; this is the one I will follow.         

And this is how we follow the Risen One; this is how we do it!

…the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that
are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave
me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I
was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave
me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison
and you visited me…. 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of
the least of those who are members of my family, you did it to me.'
Mathew 25: 34-37, 40

We feed the hungry; we quench the parched throats; we welcome the stranger; we clothe the naked; we care for the sick; and we visit the imprisoned. 

This is how we do it!  This is how we follow and how we partner with the Risen Jesus who defeated death. 

And in feeding, in quenching, in welcoming, in clothing, in caring and in visiting we find great joy, we find the peace that surpasses all comprehension!  Joy, from “the foundation of the world” is entered into by partnering with Risen Jesus, by walking alongside the Risen Jesus, by ministering with the Risen Jesus. 

Mary Magdalene in her Easter joy returns to the empty tomb and the shares with the disciples, ‘I have been the Lord”.  This is the beginning of joy.  She shares with the disciples her good news, her gospel, and then she goes on to live it, to act it. 

What are you looking for?

We share with Mary Magdalene her Easter joy as we feed, as we quench, as we welcome, as we clothe, as we care, and as we visit in our own day, in our own neighborhoods and around the world.  That’s where the Risen Jesus continues to be found.  That’s where true joy continues to be found since the foundation of the world. 

Alleluia.  Christ is Risen.                                                                                       

The Lord is Risen, indeed.  Alleluia.

Amen

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