The Resurrection of the Lord
Stories. Those of us who have the benefit of an ethnic affiliation to the Irish know the power and the importance of stories. Although not present at the event of a cousin’s funeral, the retelling of the event; of how the chief mourners were being greeted at the front door of the deceased while at the same time a certain branch of the family were making quick egress out the back door with a marble top table, two lamps, and the Edwardian silver dinner set (including the grapefruit spoons), is still recalled and retold with some relish. Without going into great detail, readers will be happy to know that most of the property was retrieved (not including the pocketed spoons) after the police were called. Luckily the officer, being an O’Brien (whose family was from Kerry), noted that these things happen, recalling a story from his own family of a great uncle whose brush with death was less serious than first reported, causing the dining room furniture and the kitchen pots to make a return trip to recovered man’s apartment.
Some stories, however, have greater weight than others, and the story that we have heard this Easter triduum should stand as the most formative story of all. We all have heard stories of abandonment, tragedy, and destruction. It seems as if stories such as these are so constant and so pervading that they deafen us to the fundamental story of God’ s love for us and the triumph of God over the apparent negation of life. The majesty and the mystery of the Easter story rest in God’s transformation of death and suffering, not in its eradication.
At times, we become too disheartened because we allow ourselves to be shaped by stories which push us into despair and darkness. We need to remember that the story of Good Friday ends in God’s victory in Christ and our participation in this victory. The angel who greeted the women at the tomb informed them that they had not understood the story and instead delivered a story of hope beyond tragedy, life beyond death. The command of the angels to repeat this story of Easter is given to us as well. That in the face of death, disappointment, and tragedy, God’s redemptive action will transform the world by means of his Son’s Sacred Heart. It is a story that for some is unbelievable, but for us it is the ultimate story and the one that shapes our lives. And it is all our responsibility to tell the story and to let the Easter story shape our lives.