LISTEN TO THE AUDIO HERE.
The risen Jesus speaks to us, even today, and we hear,
This Jesus is much more dangerous, now that He is dead. For now people will be after His body. They will cry out for His Blood in vengeance. They will rob His grave and make up a completely impossible story of how He has risen. They will steal it, maybe even eat it, in order to make His Word come to pass at all costs.
Do you believe the women’s story, St. Peter, you who denied Him three times? Do you believe the news,
Thomas, you who doubted? Do you believe the Romans and
priests, Judas, who betrayed Him?
Do you believe or do you also seek the Living One among the dead?
It is easy to determine the truth of the report: go find the body. You can follow where the body went as well as you can follow a body in a funeral procession.
Jesus was in the
day and night. He was teaching in the synagogues. He was eating, drinking,
healing, preaching. His Body was a public spectacle. The only places He could
hide was on top of mountains or walking on water and even there the crowds
chased after Him.
Read the police report. His Body was taken into custody. His Body was found guilty. His Body was scourged by whip and rod. His Body was transported to hill and cross, where He was fastened, inescapably, to die, never to move again.
Please sir, tell us where they have taken Jesus. Go ask Joseph of Arimathea. He had Him last. He wrapped Him up in burial cloths and closed the tomb. Go ask the guards. They sealed the tomb tight and set a 3 day watch in front.
The Romans and the Priests keep strict vigil; they keep watch in your place. His death is not enough. Either the Apostles steal the body and claim to have seen the resurrection or the priests stand watch and the followers claim the religious establishment just denied it.
The Body is important. Likewise, at a funeral, the entire service, from start to finish, is focused on the body. We come to it, we offer our respects to it, we pray around it, we sorrow around it, we follow it to the grave, and we place it so securely in the ground that we always know where it is in order that we might return to it.
What a testament Christian burial is to the death and resurrection of Jesus! Better yet, what a testament the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus is to us in how we treat our own bodies.
So, if you have been paying attention since Advent, the focus of all Holy Scripture has been, and still is today, the Body of Christ. Where is it? It is not here? Tell us, where may we find it? You find the Body of Christ where He has promised in His Word.
Every single popular religious leader has a headstone at which their worshipers pay homage, in despair. But we have nothing like that for Jesus, so what is it we do?
We follow the Body.
Now with the Apostles, eating, drinking, and breathing and talking. Now with 500 disciples proclaiming. Now with Thomas. Now with James. Now with Paul.
What about us today? Now the Body of Christ; the Body of a man is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Does that mean He is far away? No. This means that He can be even closer than what we know is physically allowable.
Now, at the right hand, Jesus can be everywhere at once WITH His body and blood. This means that He can appear and dwell among His people and be one with them. This means that each and every Altar that calls upon the Name of the Lord this Easter morning feasts and communes upon the one, holy, true Body of Jesus.
The Body that was on the cross purchasing forgiveness and salvation; the Body that was resting in the tomb from all the work He had done; the Body that appeared and is risen from the dead.
This Body dwells forever with His Church washing Her, speaking to Her, and feeding Her. As your own cardiovascular system carries life to your entire body in the blood, so now does the risen Christ nourish you in the one true faith, to life everlasting.
We follow the Body and the Body goes to Church, is revealed in the Gospel, and is received in the Sacraments. Do not doubt, but firmly believe. The Church holds not the Body of Jesus in a memorial, but in a living Feast of Heaven on Earth, given and shed for you.