Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Monday, 1 April 2024
Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia: Easter Sunday homily of Bishop Paolo Martinelli :

Following is the text of Easter Sunday homily by Bishop Paolo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, dated March 31, 2024:


Today, we celebrate the victory of life over death, the victory of light over darkness. The ancient Easter hymn tells us that death and life faced each other in a wonderful duel. Christ is truly Risen from the dead. The crucified has truly risen. This is not just an announcement given two thousand years ago. Today Christ is victorious, today his resurrection is announced to us. Today we too are called to celebrate Easter, to move from death to life, from the slavery of sin and the fear of death to the resurrected life in Christ.

The resurrection of Jesus has a surprising character. We can imagine the feelings that were in the heart of Mary Magdalene who went to the tomb to honor a dead friend and instead found it empty. She goes to inform Peter immediately, however not thinking about the resurrection of Jesus but about the fact that someone took his body away. We can imagine the unrest in the hearts of John and Peter as they heard Magdalene's words. They run to the Tomb. Who knows what thoughts they had in their minds and what were their feelings? On that hastily traveled stretch of road they must have remembered those strange speeches of Jesus about his death and resurrection; speeches that the disciples had never understood.

John, the youngest, the disciple loved by Jesus, arrives at the tomb first; he sees that the stone has been overturned. But he doesn't enter. He waits for Peter who is older. John is young, he runs faster. John is the symbol of love and as we know, love always arrives first. However, he waits for Peter, who is the symbol of the ministry in the Church. He lets Peter enter first, the one whom Christ had chosen and confirmed as prince of the Apostles. Love and ministry must always be united in the Church and never opposed. Peter, therefore, enters and sees the empty tomb.

Now the beloved disciple, John, also enters and, the Gospel tells us, he saw and believed. Pay attention to these two words: seeing and believing. It is not enough just to see, and it is not enough to just believe. We need to see and believe at the same time. Seeing the signs of the resurrection and believing in the Lord who is risen. If we don't see the signs we can't even believe. We need to see the signs of the risen Lord in our lives and believe that he is truly present among us.

Today I invite you to look at your life and see the signs that testify to you that the Lord is risen. Where in our life can we see that Jesus is truly risen? The whole Christian life is represented by these two words: seeing and believing. Faith allows us to see the signs of the risen Lord and who calls us to live a resurrected life.

But how can we participate in Christ's victory now? In reality, in our life there is a sacrament that has united us with the risen Christ forever: it is baptism. Baptism made us resurrect with Christ; united us with him forever, and we all are made members of his Church, coming from different nations. Baptism makes us new creatures. But what awareness do we have of being baptized? Many times, we forget about our baptism, we take it for granted. We only consider it as a fact in the past that we received at the beginning of our life. In reality, baptism is a radical and permanent innovation: we have been freed from sin, idols, and the fear of death to fully experience the freedom of being children of God. Many times, we live as if we were not baptized. We believe that other things are more important for our life. But in reality, the most important thing in our life is that we are united with Jesus in baptism. I invite you today to rediscover your baptism. We should remember our baptism every time someone calls us by name, because it is the name we received on the day of baptism.

Saint Paul invites us in his letter: you have risen with Christ, seek the things of heaven and not those of earth. What do these words mean? It is not about the contrast between earth and heaven. Heaven is the new life given to us in Christ. Seeking earthly things means remaining closed to oneself, conditioned by fear of death. Seeking the things of heaven does not mean fleeing from the earth but seeking God in all things; seeking that heaven which is hidden in all things and in all people. Here too we are called to see and believe. See the signs of heaven present on earth and believe that the risen Lord is truly present. 

In the Our Father Prayer we say: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We ask for the earth to unite with heaven, that the Earth becomes Heaven, that risen Christ fill the universe with his love.

We are called to rediscover our baptismal vocation to the fullness of love, becoming witnesses of the Risen One through a resurrected life, changed by the encounter with the risen Jesus, alive among us.

Dear brothers and sisters, bring the announcement of the resurrection into your homes, into your families, among your friends. Above all, may the joy of the resurrection always be in your hearts. Be bearers of that joy. 

Christ is Risen, truly risen. Happy Easter to all of you, to your family, and friends.