THE GOLDEN YEARS

FATHER ROGER'S REFLECTIONS

EASTER SUNDAY 2012

 

 

THE EYE OF LOVE

Only the eye of love can see the truth

Mary of Magdala wandered to the tomb early in the morning.  Her heart was aching with love and she came to anoint the body of Christ. She might have been secretly wondering who would remove the huge stone from the tomb’s entrance. Love would not allow her to remain away from the body of her beloved.

The stone that was rolled in front of the cave is estimated to have been some 7 feet in diameter and weighing a couple of tons. And so, imagine Mary’s surprise when she arrived and found the stone rolled back and the tomb empty!

It all started on Friday when Jesus died on the cross and we felt a pain of discomfort and guilt in knowing that it was our sins that brought him to the Cross.  Guilt can send us into deep compunction and sorrow, or into denial and fear. The stone covers the place of our discomfort: Jesus died for our sins. The stone of secularism, materialism, modernism, socialism and all the other isms that uphold lives destined to nowhere is a huge and difficult stone to roll back from all that we have buried with our human sinfulness and pride.

On this Easter morning, who or what can possibly roll back the heavy burden of our weaknesses and failures in life?  What can remove the pain of our insufficiency and limited capacity?  How dare we even consider entering the tomb of all that we have contributed to what is of suffering and death around us?  From the silence of the Easter morning comes an answer that overwhelms the grieving soul: love has the eye to see the miracle that is upon us today.

A young family one Easter day had made plans to celebrate Easter in a special way by gathering for a large family reunion.  Because of the distance from their home, they had made special arrangements with a highly classified hotel and had requested convenient facilities.  When they arrived in their hotel room, they found that it was inadequately small with nothing but a sofa-bed to accommodate their need.  They went to the hotel manager to complain about the limitations of their room.  The manager asked them if they had opened the doors in the room. They said they had only seen a small closet and another door that seemed to be connected to the neighboring guest rooms.  When advised to open the door, they returned to the room and upon opening the second door, realized that their little room was only an anti-chamber to a most luxurious two floor suite with a sweeping staircase leading to a balcony with access to the upper floor of the hotel.  The rooms were glimmering with elegance and majesty, a suite made for royalty.

Our human lives are but anti-chambers to the mystery God holds in store for us.  We need to learn to let go of that human vision that prevents us from removing the obstacles of life to our real destiny. Jesus came to open the door to our limited style of living.

For Mary, even though love brought  herto this moment of surprise in the early Easter morning, she feared that the Lord’s body had been taken from the tomb.  When she ran to tell the disciples, Peter and John came running to the tomb.  John arrived first, but allowed Peter to enter the empty tomb before him.  Peter entered, saw the empty tomb and did not understand.  John, the disciple who had been graced with special love entered and believed: “He is alive just as he said!”

What happens to us when we remove the restraints of our human walls?  What happens when we open the doors that go beyond our self-imposed distance between death and life? Is it a fear to let faith bring us into the unknown? Does our limited understanding cause us to retreat before we have been touched by the mystery? Or do love and faith invite us to put on the joyful heart of John that we now have access to new life in the resurrected Christ?

By late morning, surely the news had reached the neighborhood.  The body is gone, Jesus is risen!  All kinds of stories began to be formulated including the indiscreet removal of the body for selfish reasons.  Some heard, some were oblivious to all the happenings, including neighbors to the place where Jesus had been buried.  Not everyone cme searching with the love of Mary, or responded with the love of John nor came to believe with the special appearances granted to a few of the disciples.  It takes more than proof: it takes a love that sees beyond all human reasoning and understanding.

Some will come to this Easter morning just continuing through their lives as though nothing has happened.  A few will come out of religious or family custom, or a sudden spark of religiosity to celebrate a moment without seeing the mystery that is upon us.  They will hear the Alleluia choruses and will see the glory of well decorated churches to energize the spirit of searching souls.

Not necessarily everyone here or in Easter celebrations throughout Christendom will necessarily believe the events of this day 2000 years ago.  Not everyone will have a life-changing response to the rising of Jesus from the dead and the hope of new life made present to those who come in love and faith.  But the question before us is this:  how have you come to this glorious morning?  What have you come to see?  What disposition do you bring to this Easter day?

If yours is the original fear of Mary that your perception of the Christ has been taken away, that your Master is gone from your life, that the Church has been weakened and you do not know where to find Christ in your life, then go to the Church, return to the real faith of your youth, renew your hunger for the Christ, search for him with love.

If you have come to see with Peter and do not understand, then stand before the mystery that unveils itself in your hearing today and let the events of the moment soak into your mind and hearts so as to awaken something that has remained dormant in your life.  Let something new rise from your unknowing and open yourself to the mystery we celebrate. Do not take control, but let yourself be led by the Spirit of love.

And if it is the love of John that has brought you to celebrate and rejoice today, then let everyone know by the joy of your heart and the peace of your soul that all is well in the new Jerusalem, all is well in the Church, all is well in your lives.  He who was dead is risen and the consolation of Israel is upon us all today.  Leave the stone unrolled, enter the mystery, open your heart, and breathe in the wonder of the moment.  New life is upon us.  It can permeate your life within your broken bodies, among your family struggles, into the dis-ease of humanity and unto the hope of a glorious new morn. Only the eye of love can let you see the truth and know this new life.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 

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