Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday C - Mar 31, 2013

Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY
Br. Andrew Colquhoun, OHC
Easter, Sunday, March 31, 2013

Luke 24: 1-12
The Women at the Tomb - William Bouguerau (1825 - 1905)
I once heard someone remark (maybe it was me!) about the Easter Vigil that, just when you think it must be about to end, it doesn’t!

I have had time for the first year in many not to have had much to do for the Triduum.  It has been wonderful to let the liturgy wash over me and pull me in.  As always for me Lent raises up so much to think about and pray about:

  • personal things like:  how am I coping with the increasing limitations in my physical life, endings and frailty and how is that God is growing old with me and more content to sit by me as a companion?  
  • but also: how do we show our faith in the face of gun violence, the call for compassion in marriage equality?  What do we have to say about Syria and North Korea?  What about Monsanto?  And what about my cowardice or passivity in the face of injustices and suffering?

This Lent  has been a heavy season.  I’m ready to lighten up.  It must be getting near the end.  Time for brunch and dessert (editor's note: Easter brunch is served to our guests after the two and a half hour Easter vigil is completed).

But these three days haven’t been entirely without pressure, however.  This sermon was coming up.  So I’ve been constantly aware of this Gospel reading.  I discovered something.  The last verse, the one about Peter is a late addition.  The earliest versions stop with the statement that the apostles thought that this was just an women’s fantasy and the apostles didn’t believe the women.
According to the Scriptures the only people who stayed faithfully at the cross and went to tend the body of Christ were the women and their voices are not heard. They’re still not heard.

It preys on me, that… not just about those women but about all the unheard women, indeed, all the people whose voices are smothered, ignored, discounted and distorted.

Jesus was one of them –- he said over and again -– If you have ears, hear me!  And he still cries that same cry.  Sometimes it’s his own voice; sometimes it’s his sisters’ voices, his children’s, our neighbors around the world; in Mexico, in Canada, Native people everywhere – no voices. The Xhosa people around our monastery in South Africa – defeated because no one is listening. 

It’s the children of Sandy Hook; the people of Staten Island; the drunks and druggies, the whores and the old people.  The lonely and those who die forgotten.  Their voices are so often drowned out by greed and bigotry or by the noise of our blasé contentment.

It has been pointed out that Jesus’ crucifixion was just one among thousands.  Not a unique event at all.  'Just another annoying Jew who wouldn’t shut up.'  Another act of unnecessary suffering among millions.  They are all around us. 

What makes this one distinctive is that this crucifixion is the act where Humanity and Divinity hear together the tearing, the rending of the veil of separation.  And now God’s voice is made clear in the voices of the suffering of the world.

I don’t know where we dug up the idea that Jesus died to appease an angry God; I believe that in Jesus’ death, God dies.  God with us, God poor, God woman, God gay, God forgotten, God of Auschwitz, God of the barrio, God in prison, God raped, God starving. God dying again and again and again.

The Resurrection we rejoice in today only means anything at all when the Mary's are heard.  When the fear of the apostles is banished in the peace the Risen  Christ brings.  When we hear the voices and embrace the truth in broken hearted love, then Resurrection happens again and again and again.

And just when you think God’s patience must be about to end, it doesn’t.

Our call is not to leave Jesus hanging on the cross but to join him as God’s resurrected and resurrecting people in listening and giving voice to the voiceless ones. 

Christ is Risen!  Say Alleluia!

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