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Friends, today we celebrate the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the first witness of Christ’s rising, who declared the Resurrection to the Apostles.

In point of fact, the Easter declaration, properly understood, has always been and still is an explosion, an earthquake, a revolution. For the Easter faith is that Jesus of Nazareth, who had been brutally put to death by the Roman authorities, is alive again through the power of the Holy Spirit—and not in some metaphorical sense.

That the Resurrection is a literary device or a symbol that Jesus’ cause goes on is a fantasy born in the faculty lounges of Western universities over the past couple of centuries. The still startling claim of the first witnesses is that Jesus rose bodily from death, presenting himself to his disciples to be seen, even handled.

The hope of ancient Israel was the unification of heaven and earth in a great marriage. Recall a central line from the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The bodily Resurrection of Jesus is the powerful sign that the two orders are in fact coming together.