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Sunday, March 24, 2013

RESURRECTION SUNDAY. Homily from LUKE 24:1-12 for March 31.13

Homily for 3.17.13Resurrection Sunday 
LUKE 24:1-12
 (see below)
Year C












Hear, O Church, the celebration of the ages proclaimed! 
Hear, O Church, the ringing bells of joy and hope! 
Hear, O Church, as our proclamation sounds the death knell of death and sin! 
Hear, O Church, the ripping open of the graves who no longer have the power to hold the dead in Christ! 
For, today, we announce that salvation has burst on the heads of the human race! 
Today we proclaim the joy and hope of new life, the resurrected life found in the Son who is Savior and LORD of the world!
Today we celebrate the risen Savior, who is not merely in my heart, but who has ascended to his rightful place as sovereign King of the world!

“At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.”

What the these women found was unexpected. They found the grave stone removed, but they did not find the body. They found the grave clothes left alone, but they did not understand what happened and they were therefore amazed. And they found these men in dazzling clothing, because they did not remember Jesus’ words.

The angelic question which was the response to the amazement of the women: “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?” 

And this question confronts us, still, even today, and especially today. Let us therefore allow this angelic question to pierce our heavy hearts, so heavily they sag, weighed down by the cares of this life and the griefs of lost loved ones:
“Why do you seek the 
living one among the dead?

Why, indeed?! For, this is the question especially addressed to this post-modern world of institutional agnosticism and selfish faithlessness. 

But, first, we must beware. This is not the question for the men and women of the baser sort (Acts 17:5), those of the lewd and human-less-ness disposition, those who have chosen so long not to hear the call of GOD that they now cannot hear it all. Those who have so degenerated through their own choices that they have finally, and willingly chosen to forfeit the image of GOD in themselves.  

But, this is a question for the rest. It is a question for the confused and the disquieted, for the seekers of they know not what. Hear it again, therefore: 
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?” 

Why seek the beauty of true human life among the decadent and the decaying? Why continue to walk without the high hope of life now and life promised? Why endure life bleak and broken without the promise of joy and future?

Where is he, then, this one dead but now alive? 

He is not here, but he has been raised,” declared the angelic messengers at the tomb. Imagine that reality! Imagine that joy they found in the those empty grave clothes and the angelic declaration! Or, as St. John was to declare at the close of his life 
“...he is the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come, the Almighty One. He is the faithful and true witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the commander of all the rulers of the world. (Revelation 1)
Before us alive is the promise of abundant and eternal life fulfilled! Jesus, the sacrificial model of humanness, has now become the first-fruits of new life and a new human way to live. Think of it! Good News! Good News!  

Jesus the LORD and King offers this same human life to all who hear, to all whose hearts are strangely warmed by him, to all who trust and dare to walk the Jesus-way -- the narrow way. Beginning with believer’s baptism, then, and ending with the call of the blessed hope, the Savior -- the Redeemer -- brings this hope of life and this promise of human reunion beyond the grave to each individual and to each community who will heed and walk the way.

Or, to say it differently, GOD is not the man in the sky. By no means! GOD is the invisible but personal and ever-present Spirit who never once gave up on us. GOD is the personal and ever-present love that is so moved for the plight of his world that, in order to reclaim this good world now marred, this GOD became part of the brokenness of the human condition in Jesus -- including death -- and now offers the fruits of that supremely human life to all who hear and heed! Here, then, before us is the culmination of the incarnation where the movement of the nativity is now made full and complete in the utter defeat of sin and of death! 

“O death where is they sting; O grave where is thy victory?” 
 writes the Great Apostle, to which we reply with Easter joy...

“Where, indeed?” For here at the face of the empty tomb we are reminded that those who build their lives on the rock that is Christ -- which is believer’s baptism followed by the trek on the narrow way -- find real life, abundant life now, and the joyous renewal of life with the eternal Father. 

So we ask, how are you building your life? We ask are you still seeking the living-way among the dead ideas and grave clothes of a dead-end world-view? Listen to the words of Jesus as he opens to us the two choices we have upon which to build our lives:
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

And, so, we end where we began:

Hear, O Church, the celebration of the ages proclaimed!

Hear, O Church, the ringing bells of joy and hope!

Hear, O Church, as our proclamation sounds the death knell of death and sin!

Hear, O Church, the ripping open of the graves who no longer have the power to hold the dead in Christ!

For, today, we announce that salvation has burst on the heads of the human race!

Today we proclaim the joy and hope of new life, the resurrected life found in the Son who is Savior and LORD of the world!

Today we celebrate the risen Savior, who is not merely in my heart, but who has ascended to his rightful place as sovereign King of the world!


_____________________

LUKE 24:1-12
At daybreak on the first day of the week 
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus 
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. 
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, 
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, 
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.