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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: April 9, 2023
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor preached the following homily in Ponca City, Oklahoma, on Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023.
The strongest architectural shape is the curve, because unlike angular shapes, the load is dispersed evenly across a curve. That’s why the great cathedrals of Europe use arches as their basic architectural element. At the very top of every arch is the keystone on which all the rest of the structure depends. Take it away and the arch collapses.
The same is true for the teaching of Jesus. There is one key truth on which all the rest of Christian doctrine depends, namely: his resurrection from the dead, which we celebrate today. Take away the resurrection and Christian theology collapses.
What was the good news that the apostles proclaimed? That Jesus has risen from the dead! And then the rest of the arch of Christian doctrine develops as the apostles explain what his resurrection means for us. Soon they were proclaiming that Jesus, our Savior has suffered, died and risen victorious, breaking the power of evil, and that by baptism into his death, we gain a share in his victory: forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.
Easter is the day when we renew our baptismal promises and at the same time incorporate new members into the Church, initiating them into Jesus’ death and resurrection through the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist and confirmation.
That first Easter 2,000 years ago was a very busy day. Women find Jesus’ body missing. Angels explain that he has risen from the dead. The apostles run to the tomb and find it as the women had said.
Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene who thought he was a gardener, to two disciples walking to Emmaus and to the apostles hiding in a locked upstairs room. And he continues appearing for the next 40 days until he ascends into heaven: to Thomas to remove his doubts and to Peter to forgive him. Peter denied him three times, so Jesus forgives him by asking three times: Do you love me? Then tend my sheep.
And the same is true for us who also are doubters and sinners: Jesus intervenes to remove our doubts and forgive us who also have denied and betrayed him by our sins.
Since Jesus’ resurrection is the key truth 1.) on which all the rest of the good news of our salvation depends; and 2,) to which we are united in baptism, Easter is the day when we renew our baptismal promises and at the same time incorporate new members into the Church, initiating them into Jesus’ death and resurrection through the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist and confirmation.
By sharing in his death, we share also in his resurrection. His victory is also our victory, and it’s that victory that we celebrate today!