Happy Easter!!! ALLELUIA! Christ is Risen! Death and sin are defeated. God triumphs! Love and Life are ETERNAL. ALLELUIA!
The Gospel this evening tells us: "the women came to the tomb bringing the spices they had prepared." Why were they bringing spices to the tomb? Well, to embalm the corpse. That is how they did it in those days. And so they go to the tomb looking for a dead body. That is what they expected to find. But their expectations are disappointed. They don’t find any body.
We’ve all had that experience of expecting one thing, but finding something else. Usually it is because we expect too much, and are disappointed when our expectations don’t turn out. But this time it was because the women expected too little: way, way, way too little.
So they are confused. All they see is an empty space. The Gospel says: "they were still at a loss what to think about this." So picture this: The stone has been rolled back, the tomb is empty, and they don’t get it. They are just perplexed. The thick veil of grief, of loss, of most bitter disappointment lays so heavily on their hearts, that the women see the empty tomb. But they don’t see, they don’t perceive, they don’t understand.
Fortunately, they get some help. [ask Fr René & Deacon Billy to please stand. Point at them and say] "Two men in dazzling garments appeared beside them." [Ask them to be seated] These are the answer men. And they say: "Why do you search for the living One among the dead?" There is a note of frustration in their voices, like, "¿How can you make such an obvious mistake?"
Then these guys in dazzling suits that would put Armani to shame, say "He is not here;" among the dead in the tombs, "he has been raised up! They ask a very important question: ¿Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee - that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again?" It’s not like He didn’t tell you all this. Several times in fact! ¿Remember?
The Gospel says simply: "And they remembered his words." This is much more than a simple recalling of fact, like where you left the car keys. This is much more profound. The women literally re-member, they put the parts back together again, they start to make the connections, they recall Jesus’ teaching and they GET IT. He is RISEN!
Finally it dawns on them. With the help of the two fashionably dressed men, they get it. And so the women go off to tell the Apostles and other men.
The challenge in the Gospel for us this evening is the same, to “remember His words,” to truly take to heart what the Lord taught us and promised us. We don’t see any more or any less than the women at the tomb saw: just an empty space. But that is enough, IF we remember His Words, IF we open our hearts to be touched by the power of Faith.
Five people this evening will be baptized, will enter into that resurrected life. Most of the rest of us have already been baptized. We are challenged by the Gospel tonight to risk belief in the Lord Jesus, to truly open our hearts and to “remember His words.”
This is our Easter faith. For Christ our Lord has conquered sin and death!
Jesus Christ is Risen!!! ALLELUIA! Happy Easter!