My dear friends, my dear brothers,
As you can see from the liturgy, from the texts that the Church makes us say and sing, today everything is to joy.
We have taken over the Alleluia which means: Glory to God: Al El uia (in Hebrew Halleluia: Praise God).
All these magnificent texts, this prose that we have just read, this hymn that we just said a few moments ago, where we saw how much Marine- Madeleine who had approached the Savior for the first time after his Resurrection, was all to joy and fear.
Let us put ourselves in the place of the apostles, the disciples, who lived these absolutely extraordinary moments, unique moments in the history of the Church, of the Resurrection of Our Lord. They who had suffered, who had doubted the power of Our Lord, who had doubted His divinity in the end and who thought that everything was over.
And suddenly, Mary Magdalene who received this grace suddenly became the first - probably after the Blessed Virgin Mary who certainly received the first visit from Our Lord - Mary Magdalene who persevered in the desire to meet Our Lord, at least to keep the body of Our Lord, to be able to embalm it, she did not understand that this tomb is open, that the body is no longer there. So she searches for him in vain. And now Our Lord rewards his perseverance, rewards his insistence with his presence.
And then it was the other women who were probably far from her, who also had the joy of seeing Our Lord and running to tell the apostles, who did not believe. Non crediderunt (Me 16,11), says the Gospel. But they still came to the tomb to see if what the holy women were saying was true.
And now they see that the body of Our Lord is no longer present. But they have not yet seen Our Lord and they still doubt. They saw the holy shroud on one side, the linens on the other side. They saw the empty tomb. Something extraordinary has happened. But what happened? What happened?
Now they come back and tell others about it. They are meeting. And suddenly Our Lord appeared to them. They are amazed. They are in fear. They wonder if they are not dreaming, if it is not a spirit_ that they see and not a body.
Our Lord said to them:“But no, it is not a spirit. See, I’m here in the middle of you. Give me honey, give me bread^ and you will see (Lk 24:36,47). I’m going to eat it in front of you, you’ll see. They can’t believe it.
Obviously their hearts are filled with joy. Their hearts are in hope, but they still fear. They are under the influence of something they cannot admit, that they cannot imagine.
Thomas was not present. And he’s coming too. They still doubt and Our Lord reproaches them for it.” He reproaches them for this unbelief. Because finally, He announced them. He told them:
Filius homini tradendas est in manus hominum: et occident eum et tertia die resurget (Mt 17, 21,22): “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him and on the third day, he will rise again. I will rise from the dead, Jesus said. But they didn’t believe him. Now they have to see it. Then joy fills their hearts.
And yet, there is still something they have not understood. They believe that Our Lord, now that He has risen, will restore the kingdom of Israel. They do not understand that this kingdom is an eternal kingdom. They do not understand that Our Lord, in a few days, in forty days. Our Lord will ascend to Heaven, will leave them again.
But in those forty days. Our Lord will instruct them and slowly the light will be made in them. They’ll understand. They will understand that now they too have to win. And that is what I would like to say to you and that is what I would like to stress a little.
If we are in the joy, in the joy of Our Lord, because it is a triumph of good over evil, it is a triumph of God over the devil, over the evil spirit. It is the triumph of virtue over vice, of eternity over time. It is the eternal triumph of life over death.
Well, then, we must be happy, creatures of the Lord, creatures of God. We cannot fail to rejoice^ that Heaven is now open to us again. That God who became unknown to us, that God who was far away from us, becomes close to us again. And that the way is open to return to God for whom we were created from all eternity. We were created for God, to live in God, to enjoy God for all eternity.
Behold, we were closed, Heaven was closed, the way to God was blocked. We couldn’t go there anymore. Even the saints of the Old Testament could no longer go to God. They were there; they were waiting in this place called Limbo, where Our Lord went to visit them after his death, to give them this hope that in a few days, in a few moments, they would finally be able to find eternal bliss.
Well, this path that is open, that God has opened for us, must be won. If our Lord, He, has returned to his eternity, if our Lord has received his glory in the end, if the saints of the Old Testament who accompanied Him, are now in their glory and enjoy the beatific vision, the blessed vision with the Good God, who are in the Father’s House, we are not yet there.
Therefore, if we are to rejoice, we must be filled with hope - the virtue of hope is the great virtue of the Christian - because we are walking towards that goal that we hope for, that we want to obtain, that we desire to obtain, that we are made for, the goal of our pilgrimage here on earth.
We now have this hope in our hearts, this deep faith in the Resurrection of our Lord, and therefore in the triumph of our Lord over evil. We must not forget that beside the disciples, beside Mary Magdalene, beside the Blessed Virgin, there were the guards, the guards who guarded the tomb. And next to the guards, there were still the princes of the priests. What did they do?
The guards were amazed. They were knocked down on the ground. They wondered what was happening to them and some of them must have believed, not all of them.
Undoubtedly, we can think that among them, there are some who have converted and said: We were wrong. We were put there to guard the body of Our Lord and suddenly he disappeared. He is risen again. We believe so. We were there, we can’t not believe it. And the others also believed in it, but some went to tell this to the princes of the priests, saying: This is what happened. In the middle of a thunderclap, with a terrible crash, the stone that blocked Our Lord’s tomb rolled to the ground and we all found ourselves thrown to the ground. And now the body of Our Lord has disappeared.
Look at the malice of these princes of priests, who were possessed by the devil - for the father of lies is the devil - they invent a lie and say: well, well, but above all do not spread this news. This is what you are going to say: You will say that the apostles came, during the night, while you were sleeping and that they took him.
But they retort:“This is not possible, we are witnesses to the contrary. We saw a bright light and we were knocked down, an extraordinary noise, a real earthquake. Something has happened. It was not the apostles who came to take him away, we are witnesses. We were there.
But it’s nothing, say the princes of the priests, we will give you money. How much do you want? Large sums of money? There they are. And now, because of this miserable money, they will spread the news that it was the apostles who took away the body of Our Lord.
Therefore, before the Resurrection of Our Lord, see the work of the demon that continues. The demon was defeated by the Cross. He was defeated by the Resurrection of Our Lord, but he is there. And… until the world is finished, he will fight, he will lie. He will say that Our Lord is not risen, that Our Lord was not God, that he was stolen. He will continue to lie through the centuries. And this is how schisms, heresies, persecutions against the Church, against priests, persecutions against those who believe in the resurrection of Our Lord will come.
As a result, we are in a world of struggle. We must not forget it. The demon is still there. He continues his work, as he did until after the resurrection of Our Lord, when then everyone should have believed. The struggle is not over.
We will not say: Glory to God, the Resurrection has come, everyone is saved. Alas, alas, alas! We have to conquer this resurrection too. We have to conquer through holiness. That is why our whole spiritual life is a war, a spiritual warfare every day, a warfare against the powers of darkness, against all the evil instincts that are in us, against the sin that is still in us; we must fight.
Let us fight courageously, let us fight with conviction that one day Our Lord will give us victory. But let us take the means to do so. Let us take the means which are the search for holiness and especially the Cross of Our Lord, which is the way of the resurrection. It is through the Cross that Our Lord came to the Resurrection. If we too want to reach the resurrection of Our Lord, we must go through the Cross; we must go through suffering; we must go through pain; we must go through combat and consequently, this Cross, his disciples carried it. If God’s way is open, God’s way is at the altar. Our resurrection passes through the altar, passes through the Holy Mass, passes through the Sacrifice of the Cross.
We must cling to Our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is thanks to the Eucharist that we will have in us, thanks to our crucified Lord and our now risen Lord, that we will put in us, in our bodies, in our hearts, in our souls, that we will also have the guarantee of the resurrection. For this is what the Holy Eucharist is the pledge of our resurrection.
If we want to resurrect our souls and our bodies also resurrect, we must feed on the flesh and blood of Our Lord and know that we will have to fight in this life against the powers of darkness.
That is what we must do today and take as our resolution. Do not simply indulge in a pleasant feeling of enjoyment, of glory. What a joy for us to know that God has risen, that Our Lord has risen and that He has opened the way to Heaven for us and that now all we have to do is follow Him, follow the path He has traced out for us to arrive in the Father’s House and rejoice together.
But we must walk step by step, courageously, every day, to our heavenly homeland.
Well, may this be our resolution today, our joy at the same time as promising to God to follow Him, to carry His Cross, to carry it, in order to arrive also at His Resurrection.
And we will ask for it for us, we will ask for it for our friends, we will ask for it for our families and we will ask it especially today for the future priests who are here, so that they understand well that this is the purpose of the priesthood, the purpose of their vocation: to bring Our Lord Jesus Christ to souls, to bring the Cross of Our Lord, to realize the Sacrifice of Our Lord, to be able to sanctify souls through the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is by the way of the Cross that they will bring souls to the Resurrection of Our Lord.
Above all, we will ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, who did not need to be near the tomb. She did not run with Peter, with John, she did not doubt like St Thomas. She did not need to go like the holy women to the tomb to believe in the resurrection of Our Lord. She believed in it. She knew well. She was the only one who didn’t doubt it. She didn’t doubt it. She knew very well what would happen. That is why she did not need to notice that Our Lord’s linens were tidied up. She did not need the angels to tell her that Our Lord was going to Galilee. She knew it perfectly well.
Well, let us also rest in this faith of the Blessed Virgin. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin to give us this faith in the resurrection of Our Lord so that we may have the courage to fight throughout our lives to conquer, with Our Lord, with her, the way to Heaven.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.