So in just a few weeks, my family and I are going on vacation down to Disney World… and while my little nieces who are 4 and 2 years old are VERY excited of course… I think their uncle… uncle Fr Anthony… is somehow even MORE excited! 

One of the ways I’ve been sort of “counting down” to our family trip has been to revisit some of the classic Disney movies I used to watch as a kid. And one movie stands out among all the rest:

The Lion King.

This movie is just incredible. It is the stuff of legend. I remember watching it in the theaters with my family when it came out during the summer of 1994 — which, for those of us who want to feel really really old, is now 30 years ago this year…

But as I watched The Lion King this time around so many years later — several scenes stood out in entirely new ways for me.

One scene comes to mind for today — as we once again celebrate Easter — the day that literally changed the entire world forever…

You might remember that scene when Simba is all grown up and he’s feeling sad and conflicted about the life he ran away from, and he goes off by himself and sort of slumps down on the ground, sending a little pile of dust and flowers up into the air… and the dust travels on the wind all the way to Rafiki the monkey’s tree… at which point the baboon snatches some of the stuff out of the air, sniffs it, swirls it around in his tortoise shell bowl… pondering what this might all mean.

Then suddenly, his head snaps up with a crazed smile on his face. And he starts laughing hysterically — and as if he could barely believe it himself he starts shouting over and over: “He’s alive! He’s alive!” …then he joyfully paints a full-grown lion’s mane on the little drawing of the child Simba laughing and repeating the phrase:

“He’s alive!”

As I watched this scene, I couldn’t help but think: That’s how Easter morning must have felt like for the apostles…but even more INSANE.

In our gospel, we heard the story of how Peter and John rushed to the empty tomb after some of the women in their group had told them that somebody took away the Lord’s body — and so they ran to see what happened, and when they came…they saw the empty tomb. And they entered the cave looking around and pondering: 

“What could all of this mean?”

And then it finally hit them…


In the words of old Rafiki: “You won’t find him here! The King has returned…”

And then, of course, the Apostles went forth with this INSANE and BEFUDDLING news, and they told it to everyone they could in every corner of the known world!

Their message was very simple: “Jesus died on a Cross to wipe away our sins, but then God raised Him up…and now He’s alive!”

Can we just proclaim that together this morning?



Amen Alleluia!

But of course, if we’re gonna say this and believe this on Easter Sunday — then we also have to live it throughout the rest of the year. With our every breath.

This is easier said than done.

In fact, so many of us Christians live our daily lives — whether we realize it or not — as if Jesus was still dead.

And I include myself in this number — trust me. It’s so easy to do so! It’s so easy to be a “practical atheist” as they call it — which means that we go about our daily lives as if God was not real, not close at all… as if He was absent… as if Jesus was not alive!

We do this in many ways.

We live as if Jesus was dead when we look at the news and feel hopelessly crushed under the weight of so much evil, so much gloom, so much confusion.

We live as if Jesus was dead when we choose to vent and rage at all our problems, our doubts, our frustrations instead of surrendering to God.

We live as if Jesus was dead when we fill our life up with clutter and distraction — with entertainments and pleasures — as if those things could ever make us content.

We live as if Jesus was dead when we believe lies about who we are, what our purpose in life is, when we make anything else other than the Lord the center of our life.

But here’s the deal: 

If you believe Jesus is risen from the dead, then that fact changes everything:

Death lost.

Sin and darkness is defeated.

Life wins.

Faith is real.

The Gospel is POWER.

God is all we need!

For those who have lost loved ones recently, I proclaim this truth over you — JESUS IS ALIVE! … and he will raise us also on the Last Day.

For anyone enduring cancer, dementia, depression, mental illness — JESUS IS ALIVE! …And he still heals us.

For anyone stuck in addiction — JESUS IS ALIVE! And he still frees us!

For anyone lost, lonely, confused or afraid — If you feel dead, disappointed, tired and totally done with everything and everyone:

— JESUS IS ALIVE! The Eucharist we are about to receive is not the dead lifeless body of Christ — it’s JESUS ALIVE!

How can we live the same knowing this truth? Are we really worried that the tomb might still win? That death might be able to claw its way back and claim victory?

No, we reject that! — Because the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ is living proof that no fact, no reality, no situation is so hopeless that it’s beyond God’s reach.

You are not hopeless.

Your family is not hopeless.

Your future is not hopeless.

Speak Resurrection hope and glory into the darkness of whatever tomb you are facing!


You are in His hands right now, and those Hands have nail-marks… they are pierced through in order to prove that you have absolutely nothing to fear. Nothing to be worried about. Nothing to dread.

Right now, the Risen Lord looks you in the eyes, calls you by name, and says to you: “Look! See My Wounds! I have already gone through the absolute worst this world can hurl at me, and I came out the other side not only alive, but MORE than alive than ever.”

Are we willing to live every day as if that’s really true?

If you want that, if you want an even better relationship with the Risen Lord… then let’s pray right now… repeat after me:

“Jesus, help me to believe in Your Resurrection every day of my life.”

“Jesus, help me to live like you are truly alive.”