In a theatrical play or a movie or a TV program there are actors. The actors in the play represent people, or the characters in the play. The play tells the stories of the characters. Sometimes the characters are not people, but may be things. Nevertheless these things still represent characters in the play. Often in some movies, like Walt Disney movies, a clock or a teapot may be characters. In the movie 2001 a Space Odyssey, it was a computer, named “Hal”.
The Gospel stories tell us about Jesus’ life. In this story the people and characters are real people. Jesus is a real person. Mary is a real person. Joseph is a real person. God is a real person.
However, there are also some other characters who are not people but are very real. In the Old Testament the Devil is portrayed as a serpent. In the New Testament, The Cross represents Death, and Death is very real. Until the time of Jesus, Death was the ruler of the world. Even kings and emperors died. Rich and poor alike were afraid of death, because death always won the battle. No one could win against Death.
The Jews wanted Jesus to be crucified, because they knew he would be defeated by Death on the Cross.
However, something else happened. Death lost that contest with Jesus. Jesus died on the Cross, but then resurrected to live again. Jesus can no longer die, because Death lost its power on the Cross. For us, the Cross is an important actor in the most important play ever seen, and the most important story ever which affects every one of us. Death tried to take another life when Jesus was crucified. Jesus was nailed to that Cross, but the Cross could not hold him. Jesus was laid in the tomb, but the tomb could not hold him. He lives. Death lost. The tomb lost. The Resurrection won. We won. Today when we look at the Cross we see the defeat of Death. The Cross has become the major character in our own story, because it reveals death defeated forever. As followers of Jesus we will also live forever because Jesus destroyed Death forever for us, on the Cross.
Jesus told us to be baptized and to become his disciples. He said if we did, we would be saved. Jesus told us to eat his body and drink his blood, because if we did, we would have eternal life.
[Today many of our young people will make their First Communion. I ask you to pray with me that their parents will bring them back to Mass every week.]
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to remain close to him if we want to be saved. He said, “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
We are “Easter People”, because we have life, abundant life, eternal life.