Homily for Easter Sunday
I remember… when my grandmother Martin reached the age of 55… my age… she had a horrible stroke. This vibrant active holy woman who bore 13 children, who had the faith that could move mountains… was reduced to a child-like invalid. My uncle and his wife who lived across the street moved in to the house to take care of her and my grandfather. What we knew as a beautiful dinning room that held many wonderful dinners and gatherings, was turned into a hospital room and it remained that way for 31 years. My grandmother had been entombed because of a stroke.
One summer day, we were visiting along with my eldest sister who’s son was 5 months old. My father was talking with my grandmother on a day where she was so agitated. Finally, my dad came to the kitchen and took my nephew from my sisters arms and took him into my grandmothers room. As an 8 year old, and glued to my father’s hip, I was watching this unfold. Still upset and agitated, I can still see my dad laying my nephew in my grandmother’s arms. She said, “my baby…” and she calmed down. For a little while, the baby drew her from the tomb of a stroke into the light.
My brothers and sisters, there are times in our lives when we feel entombed. Times when we feel buried by the difficulty or pain of a given situation. Times when we lose sense of perspective.
Times when we forget where we have been, where we are going or who we are. No doubt because of the last year, dealing with covid, we feel like that… entombed by the current pandemic. Some are entombed by anger, addictions, discouragement, while others experience the tomb of loneliness, loss (Andrea Limkilde), or the tomb of not being accepted because of culture, or sexual identity and then there is the tomb of poverty, abuse, and abandonment.
And yet tonight (today) we hear the Easter story and we remember that our lives are ‘hidden with Jesus in God.’ It’s not that the story of the past couples of days are new… rather they are very familiar to us: a story of betrayal, capture, and trial, a story of denial, panic and despair, a story of an innocent one crucified and laid in a tomb-his disciples terrified, and hidden.
But it is a story of more than that, for we remember it. We remember how on the early morning-that first morning- the Lord’s followers, ran to his burial place, in the midst of a darkness that filled their hearts, they looked into the tomb and found it empty! Empty because he had been raised from the dead… just as he said he would.
My dear friends, it is Easter! Let the light of this new day dispel any darkness in our hearts. Let us remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus bring new life to our souls. Although each of our stories are unique, we have so much in common (our pandemic has taught us that!). We all worry of uncertainty and fear, concern about the pandemic, our health and safety, what the future will bring to the next generations. But the resurrection show us that we should never let our hearts be entombed by the darkness of the unknown.
I will always remember that beautiful experience of my dad, nephew and grandmother. I witnessed the resurrection first hand in my Grandmother. How she came back to us only for a few moments from the tomb of the stroke. Let us remember that Easter pulls us back into the Light. The Easter Story reminds us of who we truly are. It restores our identity as living witnesses and challenges us to bring the life-giving news- Good News that will help release others from their own personal tombs. Tonight we celebrate that we believe: from the tomb of death comes new life… from darkness comes the Light. “Jesus is risen! We believe! Alleluia!”