Today, Catholic Christians celebrate the greatest feast day of the church year – Easter. This feast day is so great, in fact, that the early Church fathers moved the Lord’s Day from the Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday. Thus, in effect, we celebrate Easter every Sunday of the year.
On behalf of all who work in our parish, I wish you and those you love a very Happy and Holy Easter!
In today’s Gospel passage (John 20: 1-9), we learn how Mary Magdalene came to the place where Jesus had been buried. When she arrived, however, she found the stone removed from the tomb and the body gone. As a result, she ran to give the news to Peter and the mysterious figure that the Scriptures simply call, “the other disciple whom Jesus loved.” As a result of Mary’s news, the two disciples came and saw for themselves that, indeed, Jesus was gone. The Scripture says that the disciples did not yet understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead (John 20: 9).
You and I know, of course, that Jesus had predicted that the temple would be destroyed and rebuilt in three days. The “temple” to which he was referring was, of course, the temple of the Holy Spirit – Jesus’ body. It is easy to see how the early disciples did not understand this, for the early Catholic Christian writers had not yet written the New Testament.
Resurrection experiences continue in our own lives. They are times when we go from darkness into light, fear into peace, sadness into joy, and unbelief into belief.
In the following story, we hear how one teacher had somewhat of a resurrection experience – shedding his firm unbelief stand. The story is called, “Better Not Drop That Egg.”
Jimmy’s high school science teacher was a non-believer. He didn’t believe in God, and he certainly did not believe in something as far-fetched as the Resurrection of Jesus. In fact, as Easter was fast approaching, Jimmy’s teacher told him, “The Easter story is nothing but a myth. Not only did Jesus not rise from the grave, there is no God in heaven who would allow his son to be crucified in the first place.”
Jimmy, not one to back down from his beliefs, replied, “Sir, I believe in God. And I believe in the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead!”
Jimmy’s teacher replied, “Well, Jimmy, you are free to believe in whatever you’d like, of course. However, the real world excludes the possibility of miraculous events such as the resurrection. The resurrection is a scientific impossibility. No one who believes n miracles can also respect science.”
“God is not limited by science,” replied. “God created science! Science is designed to show the magnificence of God’s physical creation in all of its splendor and complexity!”
The teacher was fascinated by Jimmy’s faith. So, the teacher proposed a scientific experiment. Reaching into the refrigerator, the teacher took out a raw egg and held it up. He said, “Okay, Jimmy, I am going to drop this egg on the floor. Gravity will pull it toward the floor with such force that the egg will most certainly break. Now, Jimmy, I want you to say a prayer right now and ask your God to keep this egg from breaking when it hits the floor. If he can do that, they you’ll have proven your point, and I’ll have to admit that there is a God.”
Jimmy took a few moments to consider his teacher’s challenge. Slowly, Jimmy began to pray. “Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that when my teacher drops the egg, it will break into a hundred pieces! And also, Lord, I pray that when the egg does break, my teacher will have a heart attack and die! Amen.”
Jimmy’s classmates gasped in unison, and the stunned class sat in silent expectation.
For a moment, the teacher did nothing. Finally, though, he looked at Jimmy and then at the egg. Without a word, he carefully put the egg back in the refrigerator. “Class dismissed,” the teacher said. Then he sat down and began to clear the top of his desk.
This story is an Easter story, not simply because it takes place as Easter was approaching. It is an Easter story because it reflects a resurrection or rising – a teacher going from a state of firm unbelief to at least a state of doubt.
But many people wonder how the Resurrection is relevant for us today. They wonder if they, too, can have resurrection experiences in their lives. The answer is, “Of course you can – and do!”
Resurrection stories are those events or processes in our daily lives that show a resurrection, or rising, from something bad to something good.
Examples of resurrection stories include persons overcoming addictions, leaving destructive relationships, or achieving financial security after being in a constant state of debt. In other words, resurrection means moving from darkness to light, fear to peace, or from hate to love.
The more we live examined lives, the more we will see all of the resurrections in our lives and those of others. Some wise people have captured that fact in the saying, “I’ll see it when I believe it!”
As we continue our life journeys this week, it would be a good idea to reflect on the resurrection experiences of our own life.
And that is the good news I have for you on this Easter Sunday, 2017.
Story source: Anonymous. In Wayne Rice (Ed.), Still More Hot Illustrations for Youth
Talks. Grand Rapids, MI: Youth Specialties/Zondervan, 1999, p. 171.