Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter 2013 - 3/31/2013: Hope Unlooked-For

He is not here.  He is risen.  Put yourself in Peters shoes What was going through his mind as he ran back to the tomb?
He is not here  Did He rise from the dead?  No way Those women are nut-cases they MUST have misunderstood what they saw there MUST be a logical explanation.  People DONT just rise from the dead like that!
He is not here:  What if he DID rise?  Uh-oh.  He KNEW I would Deny him three times Surely hes coming back to punish me!
No, no, no  there MUST be another explanation.  Maybe the Romans took him but why?  They dont care about Jesus.  Maybe it was the temple guards I wouldnt put it by them for one minute.  They had it in for Jesus the minute he got to Jerusalem.
But What if he did rise?  Id give anything to see my friend again life without him is empty.  And Id like to apologize to him for denying him.
He is not hereHOPE unlooked-for had been rekindled in Peters heart.  Just a few minutes before, all was lost. It was over.  Jesus was dead and that was the end of it.  He and the remaining apostles were hiding in the dark; Scared to even leave the building.  They wanted to go home to Galilee, but had to wait around for the final burial rites to be performed.  Suddenly, like light shining into a dark room, the impossible happened as the women burst into the room unexpectedly He is not here.  He is Risen!  What?  Impossible.  Really? 
You know if the disciples had paid attention to Jesus words and believed him, they would have KNOWN the tomb was going to be empty.  They would have EXPECTED to find the stone rolled away.  They would have been OVERJOYED to find the body gone.  But they hadnt listened or hadnt believed or understoodso they were puzzled and scared.   The tomb was like a line in the sand. Once you cross that line into the grave its all over.  There is nothing else.  People DONT just rise from the dead like that! 
And what if He DID rise?  What do we care?  What does it matter to people 2000 years later?
its a logical thing.  If we believe that Jesus rose from the dead then we almost HAVE to believe that He is who He said He is. The son of God. Because PEOPLE dont  just rise from the dead like that but God can.  And if He is who He says He is, then everything he said must be true because God cannot lie.  And if everything He said was true, then He really DID start the Church and give us the Eucharist and the Sacraments and the new law to Love one another as I have loved you.  If He really is who He says He is we cannot ignore him or his teachings or his church or his people.
The bottom-line for us today is do we believe it?  Do we believe that Jesus rose from the dead?  Do we believe he is the Son of God?
See - If for you, Jesus was just a nice guy or just a great prophet then WE are wasting our time! were wasting our lives.  But if He IS who He claims to be. We cannot sit on the fence.   We either try to live as He told us to live  - or we have denied Him like Peter.
You remember the saying the only things certain in this life are death and taxes.  We all know there are loopholes in the tax system but until JESUS, NOBODY had found a loophole to get around DEATH!  True joy will only come from one source. The empty tomb.   It is a sign that no situation is completely hopeless.  God can turn-around any bad to bring about good.  He can bring hope suddenly, even we aren't looking for it. 
As you and I act on our belief in the resurrection, we become resurrection people.  We carry that hope from the tomb and take it to every place we go:  into our broken relationships ; to the bars ; to the lonely ; to the worried the hurried ANYtime we encounter someone in darkness, WE carry the hope from the empty tomb and shine it like a light into each corner of the darkness.  A couple weeks ago I told about my friends who saved their marriage... A relationship which SHOULD have been dead.  But they are resurrection people their hope came from the empty grave.  Since then, I have learned of two more couples who have done the impossible.  One marriage was so dead, it was in the grave... Nobody thought theyd ever be able to work it out But they are resurrection people Hope sprang up where it was unlooked-for.
Where do we get our hope?  Or a better question in WHOM do we place our hope?  Lets look at some of the options out there:  Confucius' tomb - occupied; Buddha's tomb - occupied; Mohammed's tomb - occupied; Jesus' tomb - empty." ~ G. B. Hardy
A 2nd grade teacher had one special needs student, Tommy, who often got sorta dazed during class sometimes hed make gurgling sounds and just stare off into space.  It was quite distracting, but she put up with it for many months wishing she didnt have to deal with him.
One day she was teaching the class about Easter and how it was the time of New Life.  She explained about all that Jesus had done for us during those three days so long ago.  To help the students learn, she gave them each a plastic egg.  Everyone needs to bring something back tomorrow in your egg that symbolizes New Life, OK?  The kids got kind of excited about it talking amongst themselves about what they might bringbut she noticed that Tommy was staring out into space again.  She thought- Id better call his parents to tell them what the assignment is about since hes not gonna remember.  Well, that night she got busy with one thing or another and forgot to call.  At class the next day, everyone placed their eggs on the desk and she started opening them one by one.  The first held a tiny flower yes a flower represents new life because in the spring the new flowers all pop up through the earth which looked dead just a month before.  The second egg had a picture of a butterfly thats a good one we all know that a caterpillar goes into a cocoon which looks dead for months, but then it comes out and turns into a butterflythats a great symbol of new life.  The next egg she opened was empty Uh-Oh, she thought I forgot to call Tommys parents.  Not wanting to embarrass Tommy, she simply laid the egg aside and reached for another one.  Tommy spoke up teacher arent you going to talk about my egg?  But Tommy your egg is empty.  Yeah but so was Jesus tomb.

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