An empty tomb


Catholic Sunday Reflection

by Rev. Fr. Tristan Jasper D. Laforteza

Happy Easter! Once a non-Christian asked a devout Catholic why Christians come to Jerusalem to visit and pray before the empty tomb of Jesus. “It is because we find life and hope in the Risen Christ,” replied the Catholic. In facing life’s difficulties, we, Christians, are inspired to be strong, hopeful, and courageous since we follow faithfully the example of the Risen Christ —the apex of our Faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross” (CCC,638). Let me share with you the delightful fruits of Jesus’ Resurrection.

Fruit #1 God will reward you for your goodness. The Resurrection of Jesus proves that our efforts to be holy and good in the midst of deceit and temptations will surely bring us eternal rewards. In the First Reading, St. Peter encouraged the Apostles to testify on Jesus as His witnesses though he knew it may cause their lives. “He [Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42). Indeed, to be holy and good like Jesus entails self-denial.

Forgiving an offender, staying humble along with conceited peers, testifying the truth before the court officials are examples of Jesus’ self-denial. However, we should not be discouraged to follow Jesus for all our good works will not be pointless after all. What hinders you to be good and holy?

Fruit #2 Jesus had opened the Heaven for us. Christ’s Resurrection proves that Heaven is certain and real. All of us and those who have gone before us will be gathered together into one family of God in Heaven. St. Paul would clarify in the Second Reading, “When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory” (Col.3:4). It will be a glorious life with all the faithful and saints in Heaven. Thus, despite the painful loss of a loved one, we move on while keeping our faith to meet each other again. Billy Graham would say, “My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.” How do you view the death of your loved ones? How would you encourage someone to take the same hope?

Fruit #3 Jesus is 100% human and divine. Many keep on contesting Jesus as Lord and Savior. When God decided to enter human history in the person of Jesus, the Son of God, He became fully human without devaluing His full divinity. Given Jesus’ Incarnation and Passion, He had undergone the whole process of being human from birth unto death. He has proven Himself as our Lord and Savior when He had victory over death, by coming back to life through His resurrection. In the Gospel, the Apostles and Mary Magdalene witnessed this when they encountered an empty tomb. “Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed” (Jn. 20:8). With this, we come to realize that believing in Jesus will not lead us astray. Hence, we are called to proclaim Jesus’ teachings, sacraments, and examples with joy and conviction. Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? What is your personal encounter with Jesus that keeps your faith in Him?