Easter Sunday, April 12th, 2020
Happy Easter from Fr. Ron….
GOSPEL JN 20:1-9
On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.
Great visuals in this Gospel. Mary Magdalene finds the empty tomb and runs to the apostles to tell them her astonishing news.
Only in St John’s account are the apostles directly involved in finding that the tomb was empty, though neither Jesus nor an angel gave them any guidance about what it meant.
The Beloved Disciple was beside Peter to see the discarded burial-cloths within the tomb, and he at once realized what this meant:
HE SAW AND BELIEVED – that Jesus was risen from the dead!
I remember my emotion the first time seeing the Grand Canyon in Arizona; I was overwhelmed by the awesomeness of it all. It didn’t look real even though I was standing on a precipice looking at it – I still couldn’t believe it!
-This was many years ago, long before we had cell phones and I used an ancient device called a ‘camera’, to try and capture the sight -the emotions and the wonder of it all.
Back home, after getting the film developed, another ancient ritual, I realized the futility of such photos when I tried to explain to friends what the experience was like.
Couldn’t do it…
They would need to see it for themselves to appreciate its grandeur.
As the saying goes,
“For those who don’t know, no words are possible, and for those who understand, no words are necessary.” We sense something like this when reading the resurrection story.
It tells of a deeply mysterious fact, one we’ve heard our whole lives long…but we can’t quite capture what its impact was in the hearts of the disciples, that first Easter day.
The Easter message, this truly great news, is timelessly true, and so it is still a message for us here and now. He truly rose – He conquered sin and death – it is just as He said – and His resurrection has opened for us Heaven’s gate and life eternal…
I have said before that it is important to find ourselves in one or another character in Sacred Scripture stories. So…
-Do we, like Mary Magdalene, share with others the news of the resurrection?
-Do we run eagerly to the tomb, like Peter and John, to find out how and whether Jesus can still be active in our lives?
-Only rarely do we experience the Easter mystery – but we can catch some hint of the wonder of it from the Gospel stories.
The message is that God does not forget or forsake us, and the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
Every Good Friday is Followed by an Easter Sunday..
On Easter morning, the stone was rolled away.
Are our hearts like a tomb awaiting new life?
Is anything holding us back from renewal of spirit?
If so, today is the day to let it go.
As Pope Francis says, We are called to be people of joyful hope, not prophets of doom.
Through the resurrection of Jesus, we get an infusion of hope and joy, and an invitation to share them by our way of living.
Speaking of sharing
Of the many calls I’ve received these last few weeks – one stood out.
It was from a man who said he was a life-long atheist – but had two questions he wanted answered….concerning the pandemic
“Where is God in all this?
Why isn’t God doing something about this?”
This poem may well express this sentiment:
When the churches are all empty
and the temple doors barred shut …
while the mosque’s call’s long been silent
then the voice starts: where is your God now?…
When the morgues are overflowing
and hospital beds are full …
while the sick lie slowly dying
the voice remarks, so cool: where is your God now?
When homeless beg streets empty…
and hoarders stuff fridges full
while poor children lie in bed hungry…
the voice starts to rule: where is your God now?
Our God…. is in nurses and doctors
exhausted teachers’ endless screens
delivery men running in between…
supermarket staff toiling through nights
replenishing shelves stripped bare ….
masked bus drivers bringing you home…
strangers who offer to share
whatever little that they have ….whatever little they can spare.
In hearts filled with quivering hope
God is often in you, when you care.
So where is our God?
He’s not in the tomb because it is an empty tomb.
Then where is our God?
He is in the light of the Easter candle which was held high in a darkened church as proclaimed:
“May the Light of Christ rising in glory,
dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.”
That is the voice that we must listen to, because it is the voice of our Risen Lord Jesus, a voice that tells us,
“Courage, do not be afraid. I am with you always, to the end of time.”
So where is our God? He is risen and…
Alive in our hearts shining His light in the midst of chaotic darkness.
In the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit. Amen.
Here is the Song for today. Alleluia, Love is alive!
Since people often ask me – ‘What is your favorite Christmas song, or Easter song?” Here is my by-far favorite Easter song…
It is called, Easter Song
– Let me prepare you – get ready!!!
Check back in 8 months for my favorite Christmas Song!
Prayer of the Faithful – Easter Sunday – 2020
By raising Jesus, God changed sin and death to Grace and Life. Confidently we raise our prayers to the Holy One.
-For the Church: that we may radiate the light of Christ each day and confidently live as daughters and sons of God.
-For all who find themselves walking in darkness or doubting their faith: that they may encounter the Risen Lord who brings light to their journey and the peace of God’s love.
-For all the human family: that Christ will deliver us from the Coronavirus, restore to health all who are ill, guide all who are searching for treatments for the disease.
-For all who work in healthcare, public safety, and other essential services: that God will protect them and their families as they serve the greater good
-For all who are unemployed: that God will guide them in maximizing their resources and open new opportunities for them to use their gifts and skills
-For all who are confined to their home and for those who cannot be with family: that God will protect them, renew their spirits, and give them strength
-For all who are grieving: that God will give them peace and hope as they hear the Good News of Christ’s resurrection
-For all who have died, particularly those who died from Covid-19: that Christ may welcome them into the eternal light and joy of God’s presence
God of Glory and Power, we thank you for the Resurrection of Your Son.
Hear the prayers we offer You through the same Christ The Lord. Amen