The Bishops Homily – Easter Sunday 2018

Easter Sunday 2018
Cycle B | 01/04/18
Act. 10: 14; 37-43
Col. 3: 1-4
Jn. 20: 1-9


INTRODUCTION: Happy Easter to one and all!

(1) I love visiting graves of famous men! These, though, are nothing compared to the grave of Jesus. All the Evangelists describe his grave as empty. The one they were to visit was not there when the women came to the tomb. The least thing you would expect from a grave is action and novelty. Peace and quiet is all there is in graves. This grave of Jesus is no ordinary grave. It catches you in surprise and novelty as the three women in the Gospel experienced.

(2) Three women came to the tomb of Jesus that early Sunday morning bringing aroma to embalm his body, expecting to weep and pray there quietly. From a distance the first thing they noticed was the stone had been rolled away.

Upon entry, to their surprise, they noticed the linen cloth neatly folded at the other end of the tomb. They then realized that this was a case not of breaking in but of breaking out. Then they saw a young man in white telling them the man they are looking for is not there but is alive but he will precede them into Galilee! There they will meet him! How do you think did the women react? Frightened out of their wits! Of course, they were!

How would you have reacted, if you were the one? So does John depict their reaction: “They made their way out and fled from the tomb bewildered and trembling and because of their great fear they said nothing to anyone.” This grave is a place of novelty so shocking that it gets people out of their wits, a source of terror and upheaval. Other graves are places of finality and immobility. To get this is to get Christianity!

(3) From this grave, everything we learned are in fact not the case. Laws even of nature are not after all laws. So now what have these first generation of Christians sensed? That God is the enemy of death and that he has shown us his power over death in a most unambiguous way. That our lives need not be dominated by the fear of death. We saw the proof of this in a most vivid way imaginable.

Some people think that they will make the Resurrection more intelligible, more acceptable to the modern mind, if they allegorize it a little bit, bringing it into a vague symbol of faith in the Jesus’ cause. If that were true, his grave would not have been so frightening. It would be like the grave of any famous men: sad, wishful, reassuring! Also, no cult of Jesus’ Tomb ever developed in Christianity.

People do not go to the tomb of Jesus musing and recalling memories as we do in the graves of the famous men. They did not see the need of looking back to him in easy wishfulness; rather, they were shocked and frightened out of their wits that they have to go and move!

CONCLUSION: Finally, who is that man in white garment in the tomb of Jesus? He is all of us baptized frightened and shocked in haste to announce the good news of the Resurrection. That is the call of everyone of us to EVANGELIZE!


Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD

Bishop of Novaliches