Sunday Scriptures

A Resurrection of Joy and Hope

By Msgr. Joseph P. Calise

On June 2, 1897, the New York Journal printed a message from Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Twain’s cousin, James Ross Clemens, had been seriously ill and died. Having received incorrect information, newspapers had begun to report the death of Samuel. His simple comment was “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

One can only imagine the feelings that went through those who were mourning for one they loved – or hated – and learned that he was not dead. It is certainly reminiscent of the scene in “Tom Sawyer,” Twain’s most famous novel, in which Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, having been presumed dead, attend their own funeral to a barrage of mixed reactions.

On one level there is a connection between these stories and the scene we see in today’s Gospel. Mary Magdalene, Peter and John all hear that the one they believed was dead is alive. In the midst of their mourning and fear, they hear good news, which is exhilarating, but confusing.

A Place of Transition

But there is a major difference between their story and Twain’s. They followed Jesus through His Passion. They saw Jesus die on the cross and watched Him get buried. There was no questionable information. Christ had died and now the body of their beloved was missing. He told them they would see Him again, and now they could wait for that promise to be fulfilled even if they did not completely understand what that meant. What they did know for sure was that the Passion and Cross were not the last word. The tomb was not an end but a place of transition.

Hope of Resurrection

In the first preface for use at funeral Masses, we hear, “In him, who rose from the dead, our hope of resurrection dawned. The sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality. Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.”

The resurrection of Christ assures us that death is temporary, a message of comfort and hope. It is a message of comfort in that we know our loved ones who have gone before us have not gone away but have gone toward the kingdom, the life after life we are promised. It is a message of hope because the temporary nature of this life need not cause fear; we do not end but are transformed by God’s love.

Promise of Peace

Today, people of faith throughout the world will wish one another a “Happy Easter.” These are simple words that carry a profound meaning. May the Resurrection of Christ be for you a message of joy! May you find comfort in knowing that your loved ones who died are at peace, and may you trust that, remaining faithful to Christ, that peace will one day be yours.


Readings for the Resurrection of the Lord, The Mass of Easter Day

Acts 10: 34a, 37-43

Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23

Colossians 3: 1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5: 6b-8

John 20: 1-9


Msgr. Joseph P. Calise is the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, Williamsburg.