2018 EASTER VIGIL / EASTER SUNDAY
References: •• Romans 6:3-11 (vigil) •• Mark 16:1-7 (vigil) •• John 20:1-9 (sunday)
Title: “Memory Loss/Gain: Easter”
[__01__] By the time the stone was rolled away at their original destination, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome were [already] starting a new search. Jesus was, to them, a missing person.
We imagine that they would turn this tomb upside down. Their world is upside down.
The search for a lost object – or a recovery after a loss – launches us into a search for answers.
[__02__] Shoveling the winter white stuff off the sidewalk in a heavy, thick snow storm, my friend lost his cell phone, his mobile phone and then wondered, what else could go wrong?
And, in this scenario, there was no defined or confined space in which to focus his efforts, to search, to turn upside down.
Fortuitously, a few days later, someone found the device in a snowbank and returned it to him. He was reconnected to the object of his search.
[__03__] At the tomb, the disciples would have been willing to do some serious shoveling too, but Jesus does not want this to be a dig, archaeologically speaking.
They are called to do some soul searching instead.
The angel tells them, “Do not be amazed…”
And, this means – do not turn this into an amazement, a spectacle. Jesus wants to turn their amazement (which could simply create distance between the spectacle and the disciples as spectators)…and wants to turn them to ENGAGEMENT.
And, in our our own tradition of relationship with God, we believe Jesus’ engagement leads to a proposal.
He is the bridegroom who lays down his life for the Church, his disciples, you and me.
We don’t have to find him with DNA, he will find us, if we allow him to do so.
The disciples are invited to go to Galilee. Don’t look for him here. Christ will find you.
Just as the Prodigal Son was the object of the father’s search, you are the object of God’s search and hope.
[__04__] By the time, my mother returned from Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York for a special therapy, my mother was demonstrating some loss of cognition, some amnesia.
She was not, however, the only one with memory loss. The doctor – the neurologist treating her for a movement disorder (Parkinson’s) was a neurologist and he told us that there would be disruption in her ability to remember certain everyday things for a while.
We forgot this. We all had memory loss.
[__05__] Losing “memory” is different than the mislaying of the remote control and headphones.
We might say that the disciples – at the tomb in Jerusalem – are having a cognitive-spiritual lapse.
Their hard drives are in overdrive to figure out where Jesus had gone. If only they could find him.
Perhaps, they had not been listening all along. That is, Jesus did not simply lose his life unjustly or have it seized from him in the arrest at Gethsemane unfairly.
He gave up his life so that he could save us from our sins, so that he could save us and teach us that life is precious and continues after death.
And, he is teaching us the paradox that he who would lose his life will save it and he would give up his life for his sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25)
[__06__] Yes, the world is upside down for the disciples, to any of us at a moment of crisis, at a moment of mourning the death of someone whom we love.
The world is upside down when we have trouble remembering.
[** pause **]
[__07__] What is 100 minus 7 ? During this time of the memory loss, my mother returned to Mt. Sinai (the hospital – not the 10 Commandments place) for an evaluation at included subtracting the value “7” from successive numbers. You had to subtract 100 minus 7, then 93 minus 7….
My mom failed their little math test.
[__08__] So, of course we were worried. But then we returned – a while later – to the original doctor, the original neurologist who did not care about some arithmetical mid-term that the other doctor did. He knew what he was doing… it just required time.
[** pause **]
When we speak of LOVE, THANKSGIVING, FORGIVENESS, GOD, SALVATION, we remember that we are not simply going out to find these things but to be found, to be discovered.
[__08__] Yes, the disciples have a missing person’s report to make, but there is a newer law and a newer order for them to consider.
The Good News is not about losing one’s life but about laying one’s life down for one’s friends.
The Good News is not death but eternal life.
The Good News is not simply that Jesus was an innocent victim, but that he has risen as he said, that he is alive, that he is the stone rejected by the builders who has become the cornerstone and it is wonderful in our eyes. This the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it. [__fin__]