“On the Third Day . . .”
(Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection)
+ Jose F. Cardinal Advincula
Mass of the Day
First Reading: Acts 10: 34. 37-43
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4
Gospel: John 20:1-9
Every time we profess our faith, we declare that “Jesus suffered, died, and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead.” On Good Friday, we commemorated Jesus’ death and burial. On Holy Saturday, we recalled his descent into hell. And today, the third day, we joyfully celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
Early morning of Sunday, the third day after Jesus died, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. And what did she see? The stone that covered the tomb has been rolled away, and the tomb is empty. The body of Jesus is no longer there. This is also what Peter and the beloved disciple saw. Later, Peter himself would give witness to the resurrection of Jesus, as we heard in our first reading today. He will proclaim that God raised Jesus on the third day.
There is always a “third day”. This is what Easter Sunday reminds us. There is always a resurrection. The story of Jesus did not end on Good Friday when he died on the cross at Calvary. The story of Jesus did not end when he was buried. On the third day, he rose again. There is always a “third day”. There is always a resurrection.
And because Jesus rose again, we have hope that, like him, there will also be a “third day” for us. You may feel like you are just on your first day – the day of betrayal by those you trust, denial by your friends, and abandonment by those you expected to stick out with you until the end. You may feel like you are just on your second day – the day of judgment and being misunderstood, suffering and pain. You may be on your second day of death because you lost many things in life. You lost loved ones. You lost all sense for living. You may be on your second day of burial. You feel buried in a bad habit, in guilt, in your dark past, and in sin. Just wait, for life does not end there. There is always be a “third day”, a day of victory, a day of the resurrection. This is what St. Paul tells us in our second reading today, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” Even this pandemic will have its “third day.” One day, we will all experience resurrection.
Jesus rose again, not just to vindicate himself. The resurrection is not only for Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is for us. Jesus rose again to tell you, in ways more powerful than words, “do not despair, continue to trust, continue to hope, your “third day” will also come. There is also a resurrection that awaits you.” And to this, we say, Alleluia!