Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Day of Resurrection

Alleluia! Christ is risen! And not one dead remains in the tombs. Alleluia!

Sermon for Easter Day.
Jeremiah 31:1-6
Colossians 3:1-4
John 20:1-18
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
April 24, 2011

¡Aleluya, Cristo ha resucitado! Esa es la expresión que brota de los labios del sacerdote cuando parte el pan. El momento culminante de la vida y doctrina cristiana se realiza en la resurrección. "Si Cristo no resucitó de entre los muertos, entonces vana es vuestra fe", son palabras que San Pablo escribió a los de Corinto en su primera carta.

"El primer día de la semana", nos narra el evangelio, María Magdalena fue al sepulcro al amanecer, cuando aún estaba oscuro, y vio la losa quitada del sepulcro. Es María Magdalena la primera en recibir la noticia de la resurrección.

La resurrección del Señor nos enfrenta a el papel que las mujeres representan en el plan salvífico de Dios. El poder tener el mismo privilegio que los hombres en ser portadoras del mensaje divino. El Evangelio de San Juan nos habla sólo de María Magdalena, pero Mateo dice que un grupo de ellas fue al sepulcro de madrugada y fueron partícipes de la noticia.

La valentía demostrada por las mujeres es innegable dentro del ministerio de Jesús. Recordemos que estuvieron al pie de la cruz, mientras la mayoría de los discípulos se escondieron aterrorizados. Ellas fueron las que comunicaron la noticia de la resurrección a los apóstoles. Ellas en la Iglesia primitiva abrazaron el diaconado.

La Resurrección de Jesús vino a reafirmar y fortalecer la fe de los discípulos en su maestro, comenzando por Pedro y Juan, todos los discípulos cambiaron radicalmente de actitud y dieron la vida por quien había muerto por ellos.

La resurrección de Cristo nos presenta también esa hermosa relación entre la vida y la muerte. Prisioneros del pecado, nos tocaban la muerte y la separación de la presencia del Señor. Jesús, el cordero de Dios, toma nuestro lugar, las sombras de la muerte le cubren y las entrañas de la tierra le reciben, pero al tercer día las entrañas de la tierra no pueden sostener por más tiempo al Hijo de Dios y éste resucita de entre los muertos para darnos la victoria sobre la muerte. El apóstol san Pablo en la primera carta a los de Corinto nos "ahora ¿dónde está muerte tu victoria?" Pues la muerte fue absorbida por Cristo Jesús en la cruz del calvario. (With thanks to The Episcopal Church Spanish sermon website)

A poet of this parish writes in his Easter Sonnet,

In resurrection I believe, not just

because of what my loving Lord did once

in rising from the tomb. I trust

as one who his mortality confronts

without a qualm. For God has raised me

many times before: from grief to joy,

from loneliness to love, anxiety

to peace of mind when worry would destroy

my confidence, from fear to courage, sin

to bless’d forgiveness and despair to hope;

last, best of all, from doubt to faith within,

which arms me with all earthly trials to cope.

I have been raised so many times before,

I know I’ll rise to life on heaven’s shore!

(John Sutton)

The poet practices dying and resurrection every day. Because he practices resurrection, he knows he will rise to life at the end, yes and that he will continue to rise even now, on this side of life.

Yesterday something strange happened. There was a great silence on the earth. The earth was silent because the King of heaven and earth was dead.

Jesus went to the place of the dead, to search for his lost sheep. He approached them, bearing his Cross, the weapon that won him the victory. He took Adam and Eve and, yes, even Judas, and all the dead, and he raised them up with him as he said,

Awake, sleepers, and rise from the dead, and I will give you light. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. You were driven out of Paradise, and I have come to lead you to heaven. I did not create you to be held prisoner for ever.

“Rise up! let us leave this place – for I have died with you, and you shall rise with me. The Kingdom of Heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.” (from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday).

Christ intends that none should be held forever in the cluthches of sin and death. And so, every year, on the Feast of the Resurrection, the Orthodox churches read St. John Chrysostom’s Easter Homily from the 4th century:

Whoever is devout and a lover of God, come, enjoy this beautiful and radiant Feast of Feasts!

Whoever is a good and faithful servant, rejoice, and enter into the joy of your Lord.

Whoever is weary of fasting, receive now your recompense.

All who have labored from the first hour, let them today receive their just reward. Those who have come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them keep the feast. Those who have arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss. Those who have delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation. Those who have arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of their delay.

For the Lord is gracious, and receives the last even as the first; he gives rest to the one who comes at the eleventh hour, just as to the one who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; to the one he is just, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work, and praises the intention.

Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our LORD, and whether first or last receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another dance for joy! O you zealous and you negligent, celebrate the Day! You that have fasted, and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden, feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!

Let all partake of the Feast of Faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.

Let none lament their poverty, for the Universal Kingdom has been revealed.

Let none mourn their transgressions, for Pardon has dawned from the Tomb!

Let no one fear Death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free!

He that was taken by Death has annihilated it! He descended into Hell, and took Hell captive! Hell was angered when it tasted his flesh…Hell was angered, for it was destroyed! It was angered, for it was reduced to nothing! It was angered, for it was emptied! It was angered, for it was despoiled! It was angered, for it is now captive!

It laid hold of a mortal body, and found that it had seized God himself! It laid hold of earth, but confronted heaven! It seized what it saw, but crumbled before what it had not seen!

O Death, where is they sting? O Hell, where is thy victory? Christ is risen, and Hell is overthrown! Christ is risen and the demons are fallen! Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life reigns! Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the tombs!” ¡Cristo ha resucitado, y reina la vida! ¡Cristo ha resucitado, y los muertos viven!

This day, the Feast of the Resurrection, we remember that on the cross a general, universal amnesty was declared throughout all creation. Today we remember that in the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, God has cancelled all accoounts for all time. All our records are wiped clean. Sin is abolished. Hell is empty. Hell has been shut down. Hell has gone out of business forever.

We are here today to celebrate that amnesty, to celebrate the Good News of God in Christ Jesus: God’s Love has triumphed over our sins and our death; Cristo ha triunfado sobre nuestros pecados y nuestra muerte; and when we meet our Maker we will be welcomed with open arms. Dios nos da la bienvenida con los brazos abiertos.

Christ being raised from the dead has become the first-fruits of them that slept. To him be glory and dominion through all the ages of ages! Alleluia!

Christ is risen! ¡Aleluya!

Cristo ha resucitado!

Alleluia! ¡Aleluya! Alleluia! Amen!

No comments: