He is not here…He is Risen! Easter Sunday in Jerusalem

In this Easter Season my mind and heart is transported back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and to the very place where Jesus rose from the dead. Those of you who have accompanied me on pilgrimages to the Holy Land will remember the words of Amir, our guide “Go back home and tell everyone – the tomb is empty – Jesus is Risen!” Usually people visit tombs to reverence the remains of famous people who have died. But in Jerusalem we visit the only place where an empty tomb is venerated – because Jesus rose from the dead “in his flesh” at this very spot. The tomb is definitely empty. Jesus is Risen! I have it also from the testimony of those who met the Risen Christ after his resurrection as recorded  in the Gospels – Peter, John, Mary Magdalen, Thomas and the other Apostles who have “eaten and drank with him after His resurrection” (Acts:10:41) These people were prepared to lay down their lives for the truth of the Resurrection. Millions have died for the same truth over the centuries and many are doing the same today. In my own humble way I too can testify that Jesus is alive. I speak to him everyday and I eat his body and drink his blood everyday. How privileged we are as Catholics to be able to say like St Peter said, we have “eaten and drank with him after His resurrection” (Acts:10:41)

Here is a video from the Franciscans in the Holy Land. Again, Amir, our guide often said to us that  “this is YOUR home – we are looking after these holy places for you”. Let us not forget the beleaguered Christian community in the Holy Land at this difficult time. May all our help and prayers enable them to stay and flourish once more  in what is truly their home as well as ours.

Fr Lawrence Jones