April 10, 2020 Good News of Easter - Father Michael's Words to Live By


“And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back”  (Mark 16:2-4)


Around 1930, the Communist leader “Bukharin” journeyed from Moscow to Kiev.  His mission was to address a huge assembly.  His subject:  atheism.  For a solid hour he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity, hurling argument and ridicule.  At last he was finished and viewed what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of humanity’s faith.  “Are there any questions?” Bukharin demanded.  A solitary man arose and asked permission to speak.  He mounted the platform and moved close to the Communist.  The audience was silent as the man surveyed them first to the right, then to the left.  At last he shouted the ancient Orthodox greeting: “CHRIST IS RISEN!”  The vast assembly arose as one voice and the response came crashing like the sound of an avalanche, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”


Every year thousands of people climb a mountain in the Italian Alps, passing the “Stations of the Cross” to stand at an outdoor crucifix.  One tourist noticed a little trail that led beyond the cross.  He fought through the rough thicket and, to his surprise, came upon another shrine, a shrine that symbolized the empty tomb.  It was neglected. The brush had grown up around it.  Almost everyone had gone as far as the cross, but there they stopped. 

Far too many have gotten to the cross and have known the despair and the heartbreak.  Far too few have moved beyond the cross to find the real message of Easter.  That is the message of the empty tomb.


The story of Jesus who, having been crucified is now alive in a world throbbing with the powers and possibilities of resurrection and is waiting … for us!  What will we do when we have lived long enough to overcome the terror of leaving behind our “old” world, and allowed God to let the Holy Spirit - the power by which God raised Jesus from the dead - loose in us?  We need to allow God to transform us, and then to go out into the world and make a difference … for Christ’s sake.

Today is Easter Sunday.  It is a day to throw off the old protective garments - the crippling mistakes of the past that prevent our healing and moving on; the heavy stones that block our path to the possibilities of the present; and the tired, worn, heavy grave clothes that weighs us down – condemns us to a life of mourning – and deadens our hope for a brighter tomorrow. 

Easter represents new hope; new beginnings.  It is the first day of the rest of our lives.  It is time to start again - It is a day to be forgiven and to forgive - to leave the damage, the hurts, the wrongs and the tragedy in the empty tomb of our old lives like the rolled up grave clothes that they are, and to step into the glorious dawn of the resurrection.


It is God's promise of a new day; it is God's promise of a new life; it is God's promise of a new world coming to pass in our midst.


Have a blessed Easter,

Fr. Michael+