I need a rock movin' angel!

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Homily for Easter 2014
(Scripture for today's Mass)

Audio for homily


Anyone know where I can “get me” an angel
like the one in the gospel here?
An angel who’d show up just when and were I need him?
And I’m not looking for one of those Christmassy angels,
floating up above, playing a harp and singing “Silent Night.”
I want an angel like the one here at the tomb,
an angel who comes down from the heavens,
an angel who looks like he just worked out at Gold’s
and has the guns you’d need to roll back that big-old stone
standing between Jesus and me.

I want an angel who rolls back that stone and then sits on it!
How sweet is that?
An angel who rolls back the stone of fear and worry,
grief and loss, disappointment and difficulty that weigh on me -
and then plunks himself down on it like it’s a park bench.
I want an angel who’ll do all this for me and then tell me,
Don’t be afraid!
Don’t be afraid – because if you think you got problems –
see, Jesus was dead: dead as a doornail
and buried in this tomb.
Me rolling back the stone? That was nothing!
Jesus rose from the dead! Now that’s something.
And you might want to get moving because he’s waiting for you,
just down the road apiece – he’s waiting to see you.
That’s the kind of angel I want in my life.
Maybe you’d like that kind of guardian angel, too.
Well, I believe there’s an angel like this one waiting for each of us
but the place where he’s waiting
might be a place we’d rather not visit.

The two women in the gospel went to the tomb of Jesus.
They went to the place of their loss, the grief,
their disappointment, their worries and their fears.
They went even though they knew it was dangerous to go there.
There were armed guards there and some pretty powerful people
were glad that Jesus was dead.
But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were
 “holding the death of the Lord deep in their hearts…”
and they needed to visit the place of their grief.

If such an angel will descend from heaven in my life
I suspect he’ll meet me in a place I fear or avoid.
An angel might meet me in my past and tell me to move on from it
or meet me in my pride and tell me to “get real.”
An angel might meet me in my self-pity  and tell me to “get a grip.”
or meet me in my lies and show me the truth.
Perhaps an angel will meet me in my greatest difficulty
my deepest fear and tell me:
Be not afraid…
Be not afraid because Jesus lives
and he knows what’s troubling you
and he’s waiting to meet you, down the road,
he’s going ahead of you and he wants you to follow him.
He’s leading you to healing and peace
and if you’ll walk in his footsteps,
you, too, will rise from what keeps you down.

And the risen Jesus isn’t just sitting at the end of the road,
waiting for us to get there.
Rather, he will meet us, as he met the two women  - along the way -
because he wants to walk with us and show us the way
to his healing, his peace, to his life.
Jesus didn’t spend long in the tomb himself
and he doesn’t want us to hang around there, either.
He wants to bring us from fear to confidence,
from hopelessness to trust, from grief to joy,
from confusion to understanding, from depression to serenity,
from loss to fulfillment  - and from defeat to victory.

The message of Easter is this: “Don’t be afraid…”
The Lord has walked our road already and walks it with us now;
he goes before us and will meet us along the way
and tell us at every step,  “Be not afraid…”


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