Jelly Beans All Around Us

Easter Sunday | April 12, 2020

See today’s readings here. This homily was preached online due to Covid-19. Video recordings of the Sunday evening Mass, where Fr. Brian regularly preaches, are available on Facebook at Delaware Koinonia. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found hereSalesian Sermons

So I know that most normal families have Easter egg hunts.

A handful of eggs scattered in a backyard, as little children scamper out in delight searching until they are all found while the adults stand around coaching them on and snapping photos

Not my family.

We had a jelly bean hunt that only increased in difficulty as we got older.  I was in my mid-twenties and still actively participating as my parents, uncles and aunts and grandmother took the hunt to a new level.

Some were easy finds.  Sitting out in plain sight on piano seats, tops of picture frames and coffee table books.

Others were hidden in the most obscure places.

A layer of butter was removed, jelly beans placed in between and then the butter returned on top

Beans were stashed in coffee cups in the back of the cupboard and shoes hidden in the dark and dusty corners of the basement.  

They were nestled carefully in the folds of curtains, in between the pages of the newspaper, and resting precariously on the bridge of my uncle’s glasses.

Some of the locations were frankly gross.  Nestled among the used coffee grounds. Wedged underneath the toilet seat.  Buried in the dirt of the newly purchased Easter Lily.  Settled on top of the trash when you opened the lid.

But we never stopped hunting until my grandmother told us that we had found them all.  Or at least all the ones she remembered, seeing it was not uncommon to find jelly beans months later.

I used to love those jelly bean hunts.

For I loved the way in which you could find a jelly bean almost anywhere if you looked hard enough.

A truth that made me think of this Gospel we just heard proclaimed this evening.

For unlike in the Gospel of Matthew we heard last night, there are no obvious Easter eggs scattered across the yard for all to see in John’s Gospel

There are no angels.

No bright white light streaming from the heavens.

No earthquake

And no Jesus.

Just an empty tomb and some discarded fabric.

Mary Magdalene.  Peter.  John.

Each had to attempt to find the jelly bean nestled among the empty tomb.  For the truth of the resurrection was there.  They just needed to discover it for themselves.

And in their searching and seeking, their doubting and hoping, each would eventually come to discover that their Lord has risen.

I wonder if this year, this Easter, we need to hear the message of John more than Matthew.

For let’s be real, this doesn’t exactly feel like an Easter Egg kind of year.

Resurrection seems difficult to find in a world in the midst of a pandemic

Churches are locked.  Schools closed.  Business ground to a halt.  

Hospitals are hitting the breaking point.  Health care workers, pressed against a wall, grabbing a few steadying breaths before jumping back into the fray

Families unable to see one another.  Grandparents waving at grandkids through windows.  Loved ones dying alone. 

But maybe it is a Jelly Bean kind of year.

A year in which we may need to look harder than usual.  Where they may not be as obvious.  But the truth of resurrection is still all around us.

In the beauty of the Spring that is coming regardless.  In the walks we now have time to take.  In the quiet moments on our porches, our patios, in our backyards.

In the neighbors we are rediscovering, as we help one another pick up prescriptions, purchase groceries and watch over children.

In the family movie nights and art activities and story times.  In the date nights shared in the living room after the kids are asleep.

In the virtual game nights and long phone calls catching up with friends.

In communities of faith still gathering together, praying and singing.

In the way we care for one another.  The masks being made and the blood being donated, in the money we send to the charities we care about and the local restaurants we support.  In the intentional way we are checking in on the most vulnerable: the young man with depression, our elderly aunt who lives alone, the family who lost both incomes.

We are an Easter people my friends.  Alleluia will always be our song.

So let’s go rediscover our resurrection.  Our jelly beans are all around us.  May we find them together.

May God be Praised.  

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