Easter Sunday – Year B

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Joseph A. Loya, O.S.A.
Villanova University
Villanova, Pennsylvania

Readings
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Col 3:1-4, or 1 Cor 5:6b-8
Jn 20:1-9

Since the early centuries, perhaps no preacher has ever captured and expressed the power and glory of Christ’s victory over death, sin, and hell itself in words equal to those of St. John Chrysostom (“The Golden Tongue”). His sermon serves as a compendium of the essence of our Easter celebration regarding the foundational meanings, rightful reception and salvific comprehensiveness of Our Lord’s Victory.

“Are there those here who are devout lovers of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival. Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord! Are there any now weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages!

If they have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let those with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt, for he shall have sustained no loss. And if any have delayed until the ninth hour, let those not hesitate, but let them come also. And one who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let this one not be afraid by reason of delay. For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to the one who comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to the one who toiled from the first.

To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows. He accepts the work as he greets the effort. The deed He honors and the intention He commends.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day! You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry; partake, all, of the cup of faith.

Enjoy all the riches of His goodness! Let no one grieve at one’s poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn falling again and again, for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He destroyed Hades when he descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said, You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below. Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.

It was in an uproar, because it was mocked.

It was in an uproar, for it was destroyed. It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.

It is in an uproar because it is now made captive.

Hell took a body, and, Lo, it discovered God.

It took earth, and encountered Heaven.

It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you, O death, are annihilated!

Christ is risen, and the evil ones are cast down!

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!

Christ is risen, and life is liberated!

Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;

for Christ, having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen!”