We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. (Acts 10: 39)
In some churches this Easter morning, we can be sure that the preacher will ask: “Can I get a witness?’’ They will be imitating St. Peter’s discourse to Cornelius and the people of Caesarea (see the first reading for today, Acts 10:37-43), proclaiming that Jesus has risen and they will invite those in the congregation to raise a hand and exclaim: Amen! We also believe!
Amen–we also believe! We praise God today with awesome wonder at what God has done for us. Jesus who was dead and in a tomb has been raised to a new life. Jesus died on the cross but death could not hold him captive. The love of God liberated him and gave him new life.
Peter proclaimed that “all the prophets bear witness that everyone that believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Amen–we also believe! We believe that our sinfulness died with Jesus on the cross and so now our sins do not hold us captive because we have been liberated by the merciful love of God. The darkness and death of sin has lost its hold on our hearts as a new day dawns with the light and love of God.
For those who believe, the power of the resurrection is transformative and empowering. Like Jesus rising from the tomb, our lives are not merely resuscitated but made truly new. The first fruit of this new life is the compelling desire to share the Good News and to participate in the continuing mission of transforming the world through the life-giving power of God’s love.
Can we follow the example of the first witness to the resurrection, Mary of Magdela? Can we run, not walk, to tell others the good news? Can our excitement bring others out of their fearful sanctuaries and bring them to the place of wonder and awe where they too can become prophets of the Good News of the risen Christ?
The world continues to need prophets who give witness:
- to the joy of believing that the power of God’s love will continue to bring to life the deadness of a world indifferent to injustice;
- to the hope that the suffering of those oppressed will be healed;
- and to the power of the love of God to change hearts and lives.
Can I get a witness?
Rev. William Nordenbrock, C.PP.S.