Eater Sunday C

The women come to anoint Jesus, the crucified one; to give honor in death where none was given in the killing.  They wonder how they will remove the stone but are met by a far great wonder.  Two men, in dazzling white greet them and ask, “Why do you seek the living among the dead.  He is not here, he has been raised.”  They excitedly, with great hope try to decipher the news.  On their way back, they are greeted by Jesus himself who asks them to convey the message that the Risen Jesus will precede them back to Galilee. 

Now they hurry home with their hopes confirmed.  They prepare to deliver the good news, the GOOD NEWS that will shape all of history.  It all falls flat.  The apostles all think it is nonsense.   Why should they listen to a bunch of women?  Now I cannot emphasize this enough.  It is never wise not to listen to women in our lives. 

But we should not be surprised that they thought it was nonsense.  They had heard in the distance the plaintive cry of Jesus on the cross.  The whole Jesus story now seemed like nonsense.  How could a carpenter portend so much in God’s plan?  How could he truly tell God’s story and envelop the world with forgiveness and grace from the small stage of a Roman backwater?  The whole idea of Israel seemed absurd to the outside world as well.  How odd of God to choose the Jewish people, always beaten and subject to others, to be first to hear God’s word and be in special covenant with the one true God.

Each of us believers have seen the skeptical look, the nonsense.  Why do you go to church?  My grandmother went to Church but that was a long time ago.  How can you let these old ideas dictate your lives in the midst of such overwhelming technology?  Isn’t believing in God superstitious?  Unreal?  Ridiculous in our modern culture?  I think we have all seen that look declaring our lives of faith utter nonsense.  It drives us to a kind of protection that shutters our belief within us.

At the Easter Vigil, we welcomed six young people into full communion with the Church.  At any and many given moments of life, they would have thought it would be nonsense that they would proclaim their faith publicly, proudly and claim membership in the Catholic Church.  Yet, there they are. 

They felt something within them and outside them.  Something that moved them closer to one another and to themselves.  They felt the inexorable movement of love; a pull toward God which no other destination could match; no other taste could satisfy.  They could tell as we can tell that we were meant for something beyond ourselves where life finds its completeness. 

And in that light, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead hardly seems like nonsense.  It seems inevitable.  That love could not be stopped and the life that God began would be destined for forever.  That the restlessness we feel and that tears at our being could only be solved by a solution to the haunting of death.  A God who could make life would have had to preserve it.  It is what draws out the Alleluias deep within our soul.

Peter did not dismiss the women’s report as nonsense.  He saw the burial clothes and he was amazed.  Amazed that his friend was beyond death.  Amazed that Jesus was among them again.  Amazed that life, true life, had defeated death.

It seems to me that there are only two ways at looking at the world.  We can dismiss all this stuff as just so much nonsense, a mere distraction in a busy world.  Or we can be amazed.  We can be amazed at how selfless love has a power over us that defies everything else.  We can be amazed that the gift of eternity has been planted within us.  We can be amazed at how we are truly one, united by a Spirit that breathes life within us.  We can be amazed at how we have been chosen and how we have been loved.

SO I ASK EACH OF YOU:  IS THIS NONSENSE OR ARE YOU AMAZED?  IS IT NONSENSE THAT WE CAN COME TOGETHER AS A PEOPLE WHO REJOICE IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OR ARE YOU AMAZED?  IS IT NONSENSE THAT THE LOVE UNLEASHED ON THIS EARTH STILL MOVES TO CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER, TO FEED OUR HUNGRY AND TO HEAL OUR BROKEN?  IS IT NONSENSE OR ARE YOU AMAZED THAT PEACE IS A REALITY BECAUSE IT SIMPLY MEANS WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN LOVED BEYOND ALL TELLING?  IS IT NONSENSE?  OR ARE YOU AMAZED?

Editor’s note:  I am aware that capitalizing all letters make you appear to be yelling.  I was.

Advertisements