This New, Unfolding World

2nd Sunday of Easter | April 19, 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

35 Days.

I have been in my room for 35 days.  

And somehow over this past month, these four walls have become my sanctuary and my prison.

I have spent hours looking at the same artwork on the walls.  I have continued to step over the same disheveled piles of papers that represent my scattered mind.  I have sat in the same two chairs, trying to convince myself that one is my work chair and the other my chair for relaxing.

But this week, as we began talking about relaxing the restrictions and life beginning to resume, I suddenly began to question whether I was ready to leave this space.

Because even though this room is small and confining and so limited.  It is also safe and comfortable.  I feel in control when I am in this space.  I know what I will face when I get out of bed.

But that world outside these walls.  I have no idea.  All I know is that the world we return to will not be the world we left a month ago.

So many of our behaviors will continue to be altered for months, maybe even years to come.

I don’t know what school will look like.  What retreats will look like.  What service trips and service requirements will look like.  

I don’t know what Church will look like.  What masses will look like.  What weddings and baptisms and funerals will look like.

I don’t know what it will look like to dine in a restaurant or visit my parents or vacation?  I don’t know when we get to watch the game or see the show or hug someone again?

And admitting that out loud is scary.  Admitting I don’t know.  Admitting I don’t have the answers.

It is easier to believe lies that admit this truth.  It is easier to buy into conspiracy theories.  Or dismiss or minimize what we are facing.  Or simply close our eyes and pretend that none of it is true.

It is easier to turn our fear into anger.  Lashing out at governors or medical experts, lashing out at employers or colleagues, lashing out at spouses or kids.  As if they are to blame.  As if they have all the answers that we don’t

Maybe it is why I resonate with the disciples so much in today’s Gospel.

For I get why they would still be hunkered within those walls of the upper room.  Hiding from the world that is so different from what they  remembered.  So different from the world they once knew.

I know we think of resurrection as nothing but positive.  The Hallelujah after the long season of Lent.  The blooming of lillies and the beauty of Easter dresses and the joy of egg hunts and chocolate bunnies with ears bitten off.

But for those early disciples, I am not so sure.

I think for each of them, this truth was overwhelming.  It shattered the world they knew and they had no idea what it would all look like when it got put back together.  Sure the Good Friday world was painful, but they at least understood it.  They thought they knew what they were facing.  But now with Easter Sunday, all bets were suddenly off 

They had no idea what resurrection meant for them.

They had no idea what it meant for their lives.

They didn’t know what would change.  They didn’t know the impact it would have on their jobs.  On their families.  On their future.

And in coping with the new world they were being asked to move out into, they struggled with the same fear we are now.

And their reactions are not too dissimilar to our own.

Thomas dismissed it at first.  The pharisees made up lies about what happened.  Peter initially went back to fishing as if nothing had changed.  Paul tried to destroy those who dared proclaim a new world.  Mary kept returning to an empty tomb.

But eventually each individual was faced with a choice.

To live in the knowledge that God was doing something new in the world and that they were invited to be a part of it.

Or to reject this.  Stubbornly choosing to live in a nostalgic world that no longer existed.

My friends, I am convinced we too are faced with the same choice.

To walk with our God into this new world unfolding before us, trusting that resurrection continues to dawn.

Or to hide in our upper rooms, wishing that we could go back to the world that can no longer be.

I may not have the answers.  But I can honestly echo the cry of Thomas.  My Lord and my God.

I may not know the way, but I grip the hand of the one who will walk beside me every step of it.

May you have the courage to do the same.

May God be Praised.  

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