A man gave his son a dime to put into the collection at Holy Mass. After Mass, as they were walking to their car the man complained that the church was cold, the choir was off key and the sermon was boring. The little boy said, “I don’t know Dad, I thought it was pretty good for a dime.”
We are used to getting what we pay for. In our consumer society the word on the street is that “Nothing in life is free.” Usually what is advertised as being free is either worthless or cost more in the end. Bargains are few and far between—to be approached with caution. Sadly many of us view our relationship with God in a similar way. If we want something from God then we somehow have to measure up to God’s expectations—to do our part—or God will not come through for us. Take a look at Biblical history. When did any of the people in the Bible keep their end of the agreement? When have we been able to keep our promises? If by some miracle we can pat ourselves on the back about a particular achievement, then the credit goes to God’s grace, not our merits. Over and over God pulls us out of the messes we have made and shows us the way to freedom. That’s what happened with all of humanity. We know the story. Our ancestors messed up—lost Paradise. In the course of history God became one of us in order to pull us out of the mud. The mud of our own mistrust—guilt—envy. The part of original sin that has stuck to our soul is that we tend to focus on the negative, especially about ourselves. Perhaps that’s the reason that bad memories from the past will haunt us for years. Resentments—old family disagreements can last a lifetime. Unfortunately many have still not heard the Good News.
That’s what Easter is about—Good News. The Tomb is empty! Jesus Christ has risen. Death has no more power. Yet, like the little bird who wouldn’t fly out of the cage when the door was opened—we tend to stay in the tomb. The tomb is safe. The pain is familiar. What will we do without the pain? What’s to live for if there’s nothing to worry about? We claim that we want to be free, but often do not know how to handle freedom—true freedom. Like the folks who retire and then don’t know what to do all day. An elderly gentleman who retired use to say, “I get up in the morning and I have nothing to do. By noon time I’m only half way done.” We are accustomed to being told what to do—having the day mapped out.
Now hear this: true freedom comes from doing what God wants. God wants us to love each other—to serve—to live in peace. Why is God’s will so difficult? Sounds simple—then why do we have so much trouble? Consider that maybe part of us is still in the tomb. Perhaps we’ve dared to stick our head out—or a hand—or a leg. We’ve taken little steps, but not a full leap—just like Jesus did. The Father exploded Him out of the tomb as the First Resurrected from the dead. The Lord can do the same for us. The mark of a true conversion—no more hiding. No more being afraid of the dark. We attribute such fears to children—but there are plenty of adults who are afraid of the dark—not literally—but the darkness that comes from being alone—or rejected—or disabled. Darkness and fears go hand in hand. Time to get out of the tomb. Once we are free then we cannot help but spread the word. That’s what the early Christians did. That’s the reason we are here—because of their witness. Now it’s our turn. The world is starving for truth. Countless are trapped in their crippling fears. One word—a touch—an act of kindness might be the key. Easter did happen a long time ago, but can also happen today—starting in our heart.
Spread the word. Jesus Christ is alive. More importantly He is alive in each one of us. We are witnesses of the empty tomb.