Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the people of God. I wish all the best for you and your family. And of course, we will have today’s meditation on the special event that transformed history and our lives. Here it goes.
The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the 20th chapter (1-18)
Glory to you, oh Lord.
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.”
The Gospel of our Lord.
Praise to you, oh Christ.
My dear family in Christ, some of us have been called by different names. Depending on a name you can tell something about the person calling you that way. Perhaps it is a nickname you had when you were little, and most likely your nuclear family or those closest to your family at that time used it. Maybe it was a name only your mother used for you, or your father. Of course, when parents use our full name, most likely were in trouble, right? Then there are names kids your age used to call you at school, or your college mates. Perhaps in some organization you were called by your last name. Then you have those names called by your spouse or significant other, some funny, other tenderly. You also have the name you now use to introduce yourself, and the list could go on.
I have been curious about how Jesus will call me, what name will he chose? Something happens inside me when I hear one of my particular names been used. Not to mention titles.
In the Gospel reading today, my eyes went to Mary when she was called by Jesus. I can’t help but to think how she must have felt. What tone of voice did he use? What was going on Mary’s heart as she heard her name from this risen Jesus? I don’t know, but only can imagine. The sound of her name on Jesus’ mouth could have made Mary close to those she loved and loved her.
Mary was making trips to the tomb and I can only imagine her confusion amidst her grief. She must have been in a deep state of numbness that seeing two angels in the tomb didn’t frightened her. There was probably a sense of feeling lost, without a course to follow in life. Then she hears her name, from that voice she has learned to love, in a way that completely changed everything. Then she uses the respectful title for Jesus, “Rabbouni” my teacher.
It is hard for me to understand that it has been more than a year that our lifestyles changed. It has been hard not to mention the Covid 19 pandemic in our sermons. The past year has confused us, has made us more sensitive, and maybe more careful. We know the confusion and pain it has brought to so many people around the world, and to those close to us. Hurt, separation and even death. We are tired. We long for pure, safe and honest human contact. We want to gather in our churches with many of those who worship like us. We want to sing and share the peace. We want to have Holy Communion like we use to before Covid. Some are daring, others are not. And as dessert, we have made our difference of opinions and beliefs divide us. We still hear about random crazy shootings, hurtful prejudices, and of hundreds of children dangerously crossing the border by themselves.
I read a cartoon story about a man who had spent a long time in an island after a shipwreck. A big ship was about to rescue him. A sailor came to the shore, met the man and hand him a bunch of recent newspapers as compliments of the captain. The sailor said, “The Captain would like you to read the headlines and then decide if you really want to be rescued.”
You may think that is funny or not, but some folks may think that with all that has been happening lately, it feels as if evil is winning, and are very scared.
That is when Easter comes, we hear the risen Christ reminding us that there is no grave deep enough, no illness strong enough, nor separating evil capable of keeping Christ in that tomb. And because he triumphed over evil and death, so will we.
Mary heard her name in a way, only her Master pronounced it. We can only imagine the emotions she might have felt. He’s alive! It’s true! All he said is true! He called me!
Now Jesus is calling us by name, Julie, Carl, Camila, Min Yung, Julio, Michelle, Pedro. We wipe our tears, and listen carefully, like Mary. Go tell others, he says. Mary went immediately to carry on Jesus’ mission.
What does she say? Same thing we need to say as well, “I have seen the Lord.” God is reconnecting with us. Those are good news. Therefore, let’s go and tell our God story!
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Let us pray,
Good and loving God, how can we thank you for all your mercies and great love for us. Not only did you send us your Son, Jesus Christ, to show us how to live a life full of your Spirit, but you also raised him from the dead, so that we may have hope, and believe in your promises. Continue to give us wisdom and strength as we begin this new chapter in our history. We pray all this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
I have to tell you that I am getting ready to travel again and looking forward to being in person with some of you. Therefore, I will have less opportunities to record messages. The good news is that we have been careful and ready for the next step in our lives. I will continue to be in touch for many other reasons, such as the quarterly Synod Update and more. For now, I leave you with God’s blessing.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord Look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.