Year B – Easter Sunday

Year B - Easter Sunday 4

Like Buttercups and Sunflowers

(Acts 10:34, 37-43; Col.3:1-4; Jn.20:1-9)

Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Happy Easter!

Where does the name easter come from? No-one’s quite sure. Some say it means ‘the feast of fresh flowers.’ Others say it comes from the old Norse word eostur, which means ‘the season of new birth.’

But from wherever it came, Easter is surely the most important day of the year.

Why? It’s because it’s the day when Jesus literally rose from the dead. That’s important because it proves that God is real, and powerful. It also confirms that everything Jesus has been saying to us is true.

And most importantly, Jesus’ resurrection proves that death is not the end of the road for any of us (1Cor.15:54-55), for Easter is the sign that Jesus always brings light and life wherever He goes.

This means that, as followers of Christ, we too can have our own personal Easter whenever we find ourselves facing physical death or a darkness of some kind, like an illness, a betrayal or a failed dream.

For Christianity is the promise of new life, whatever our circumstances.

Year-B-Easter-Sunday

Jesus’ resurrection confounded the first Christians. They struggled to understand it and didn’t know what to do about it. But gradually they adopted a new way of living.

One of the first things they did was to study the Scriptures, looking for what the prophets might have said about Jesus’ coming. They also looked for clues about what might happen next.

As well, they began teaching others about the Good News, at first orally, and then in writing, and some of this became our New Testament.

The early Christians also adopted Jesus’ lifestyle, by living modestly and meeting regularly in each other’s homes, to break bread and support each other by sharing what they had (Mt.25:31-36; Acts 6:1-6).

And they placed crosses and other sacred images on the eastern walls of their homes, to mark their Christian faith and help them face east whenever they prayed.

Why did they face east? It’s because Jesus entered Jerusalem from the east on Palm Sunday, and they expected that Jesus would one day return from the east (Mt.24:27), and wanted to be ready for Him.

Like the sun that always rises in the east, the early Christians saw Jesus as the ‘Bright Morning Star’ who makes all things new again (Rev.22:16; Jn.8:12).

In the 4th Century, when they started building churches, they made sure they always faced east, too, wherever possible. They designed the churches and the liturgy to help carry the faithful into the arms of God (Lk.1:78-79).

It took years for the early Christians to settle into a new pattern of life after the first Easter. The Roman persecution made this difficult, however their passion for Jesus was so strong that it shaped their lives.

But what of us today? Here we are celebrating Easter, but does Jesus’ resurrection make any difference to our own lives?

Many people believe in the resurrection, but don’t understand it. Others understand it but do nothing about it. What should we be doing?

One good thing to do is to learn from the first Christians.

They studied the Scriptures to learn about Jesus. They decorated their homes with Christian images and prayed intently. They tried to live like Jesus, living modestly and in community, and often meeting in each other’s homes to break bread and support each other, sharing what they had.

Just like buttercups and sunflowers that naturally turn to face the sun each day, the earliest Christians always turned towards the Son of God in everything they did.

May we do the same.

Christ is risen! Alleluia!