Easter Sunday B – Leaving The Tomb
When Jesus rose from the dead his disciples had to re-orientate their lives from living with Jesus on a daily basis to living without him, but with the Spirit. The mystery of Jesus’ resurrection calls us to move from living in the past to engaging with the present and start thinking creatively about tomorrow. This means moving beyond our antiquated understandings of human sexuality and gender, prejudice against women, and distorted understandings of the gospels and church teachings. I don’t want today’s church leadership to act like a crowd of retirees simply repeating archaic understandings about life. For today’s believers, Easter is not just fifty days in springtime and summer; it’s everyday, it’s all year round. It’s about looking ahead. Just as we can look at the sky at night and tell what the morning will bring, so we must be able to read the signs of the times to prepare for the future.
For starters, we need to shift from practising religion to living the Faith. As believers, we are people who have encountered Jesus in the gospels and have a deep sense of his mind, heart and vision. It’s easy enough to go to church for forty minutes a week and recite all the prayers. It can also give one a sense of being okay with God and respected by others. ‘All their deeds are done for people to see. they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love the places of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues’ – Matt 23: 5-6. Jesus saw through all that stuff. It is much more difficult to follow the example of Jesus and live our faith by being a contemporary Good Samaritan. He was the one who put his racism and beliefs about Jews aside in order to help a fellow human. Far too many ‘good Christians’ remain stuck in racism, misogyny, false beliefs and self-veneration.
A lot of people are boxed in to grade school religion and are not open to new ideas. We are all learners. No one has all the truth. There is still much to learn and discover. Easter calls us to move ahead into a new age of discovery and collaboration. Some people, unfortunately, find it more comfortable to revert to ‘good old days’ stagnation where there is no intellectual challenge and no human growth either. And honestly, the ‘good old days’ were not always what they’re often jazzed up to have been. I’m old enough to remember clearly what religion was like in the ‘forties and ‘fifties, long before the Second Vatican Council. That style of Catholicism is gone and those who seek to turn the clock back are barking up a gum tree. We need to get back to the courage of the early followers of Christ, and get over our fears of stepping forward and shouting out our mostly silent leaders.
Easter is about waking up and stepping out of the tomb of the dead and embracing another dimension of life. ‘On the morning of the resurrection, God put life in the present tense, not in the future. He gave us not a promise but a presence. Not a hope for the future but a power for the present… Jesus’ resurrection is not to convince the incredulous nor to reassure the fearful, but to enkindle believers. The proof that God raised Jesus from the dead is not the empty tomb, but the full hearts of his transformed followers. The crowning evidence that he lives is not a rolled away stone but a carried away church…’ – Clarence Jordan, THE SUBSTANCE OF FAITH AND OTHER COTTON PATCH SERMONS, 89.
Fr. QQ – 03/31/2021