HOMILY: Beginning A New Chapter at the Empty Tomb

The Resurrection of the Lord | March 27, 2016

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click hereSalesian Sermons

PROTIP: You can take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.

I believe that as a middle school administrator, I spend the bulk of my days answering questions . . .

Fr. Brian, when is the basketball game this weekend?

Fr. Brian, do you know someone who can explain this math problem to me?  And not you, it never ends well when you try to teach us math.

Fr. Brian, are we getting out early today?

Fr. Brian, can I drive your car?

Fr. Brian, do you wear the same shirt every day or do you have an entire closet of priest clothes?

Fr. Brian, do they even make your phone anymore?  

It is a never-ending interrogation that I have gotten quite good at navigating.

It can seem so easy.  A quick reply and a student’s confusion is dispelled.  A quick retort and a student returns to work.  

And yet, especially in recent weeks, I have come to realize that not all questions are that easy to answer.

I find myself asking questions that reveal my own befuddled state.  My own troubled heart.

Questions like . . .

What was he thinking?

How do I get through to him?

What am I supposed to do next?

What do you want from me?

Why?  Why did this happen?

Where are you?

Questions that seem so appropriate after hearing our Gospel reading for this weekend.

For it seems that the earliest disciples weren’t much better off that Easter morn 2000 years ago.

Where have they moved him?

What is happening?

Where is he?

What do we do now?

And in the midst of their questions, these earliest disciples were struggling with their own complex set of emotions.

They were confused and scared.

They were still stricken with grief and yet daring to hope.

They came to believe, even as they struggled with their questions and doubts.

Which is probably why I love these readings.

For they reveal the humanity of those earliest disciples who remain the model for our own faith journeys.

Those disciples did not simply wake up Easter Sunday with all of their questions answered.  All of their grief dispelled.  All of their doubts banished.

On the contrary, Easter Sunday was simply the beginning of a new chapter in which they had to learn what the empty tomb actually meant for each of them as individuals and for them as a community.

Their eyes needed to be opened by the power of the Spirit to see how God had been working through the cross and the garden to bring them all to this empty tomb so that they could one day go forth to the ends of the earth to proclaim a Risen Christ.

My friends, here we are on another Easter Sunday.

And yet, the invitation remains the same.  Which is to once again begin another chapter in our own story of discipleship.

Once again, we must bring all that we have journeyed through and wrestle with it before the empty tomb.

We too must bring our questions and seek after the answers.

We too must bring our doubts, even as we choose once again to believe.

We too must bring the deaths that we have suffered, even as we await the Resurrection that is promised.

We too must sit before the empty tomb as we are . . .

With our faults and failures.

With our dreams and accomplishments.

With our relationships and our estrangements.

With our past and our present and our future.

Whether we call this Church home or whether we are new to the family.

Whether we are angry at the Church or whether we are here for the sake of keeping the family peace.  We sit before the empty tomb.

For it is here.  At the empty tomb that we discover anew the living faith that is ours by baptism.  We encounter anew the Risen Christ who invites us to share his very life in this Eucharist.

So that we too may one day walk away from the tomb and become God’s witnesses to the end of the earth.  Witnesses to his power to liberate, to heal, to strengthen, to comfort and to bring new life to those living in the shadow of death.

Happy Easter my friends.

Our journey awaits.  Are we ready to begin?  May God be Praised.

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