Happy Easter | Easter Message - Saint John's Seminary

Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed


Easter Message from Fr. Stephen Salocks, Rector

On behalf of the seminarians, faculty, and staff of Saint John’s Seminary, I wish you and your families a blessed and joyful Easter!

On Easter morning, the Gospel encourages us to join the first disciples of Jesus at the empty tomb: Christian faith in Jesus’ resurrection begins at the empty tomb.

The scripture readings of Easter remind us that faith is a journey, that faith grows and deepens, and that faith does not achieve its goal all at once. This is certainly the experience of Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the Beloved Disciple in today’s Gospel passage as they come to the empty tomb. Their reactions to the scene are all different: one is confused, another concerned, the third believes, and the last line of the Gospel passage tells us that “they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” Faith is a gift from God and understanding is the fruit of our commitment to God’s gift of faith. Let’s take a closer look.

“Early in the morning, while it was still dark,” Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb and rushes back to tell the disciples, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb.” At the beginning, there is confusion and the grief that lingers from Jesus’ death on the cross.

But the news prompts Peter and “the other disciple whom Jesus loved” to run back to the tomb, and the journey of faith begins. Peter sees the burial cloths that had wrapped the crucified body of Jesus neatly folded in the tomb, and realization and beginning of resurrection faith takes another step forward. Then, the Beloved Disciple enters the tomb and believes. The light of the new day and the Light of the Resurrection now shine more brightly.

On Easter morning, we also hear St. Paul remind the Colossians to keep their hearts set on greater things. What a wonderful attitude and posture to take as the days of Easter unfold. Here at Saint John’s Seminary and in communities of faith around the world, we want to keep our hearts set on greater things in our study, work, prayer, and recreation.

Considering the Word of God proclaimed today, Easter faith needed to begin somewhere, and for the earliest disciples, it began at the empty tomb. They would need to talk to one another and to listen to one another. They would need to go back to the promises and prophecies of the scriptures and see how they were fulfilled in Christ. They would need to pray. They would need the risen Jesus himself to encounter them in their fear, confusion, doubt, and grief. They would need to imagine and hope beyond the immediate… They would need to set their hearts on greater things.

In fact, it did not take all that long before faith and understanding deepened. The disciple whom Jesus loved was able to believe because he had his heart set on greater things. In the years and centuries that would follow, Christians like the Colossians would continue to hear Paul’s exhortation to live out the consequences of the resurrection. They would come to understand that Christ’s resurrection was not an isolated event but one that brought about a new order in which believers have become participants. Having been raised up in company with Christ, they would strive to set their hearts on the higher realms rather than on things of earth. May that be so for us all!

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

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