Saturday, May 7, 2011

Easter Sunday

Just before Ash Wednesday, I was invited by one of our Kindergarten Sunday School for a visit. Kids at that age are really shy around strangers especially with someone they see on Sundays right in the middle of all the action at the altar, so during my visit as I expected , I spent most of the time talking to Miss Trish and Miss Maureen while all the kids spent their time coloring. At the end of my visit I asked if we could finish with a prayer, and asked if anyone had any prayer intentions. I was amazed about the reaction I got from this request. Suddenly 5 or 6 hands went up, kids that a few moments ago could not peel their eyes from the picture they were coloring all of the sudden were eager to catch my attention. But what surprise me the most was the type of petitions I heard from these little children. “For my grand pa who has a brain tumor” “For my aunt how is sick with cancer” “For my friends brother who had a car accident and is in the hospital”. All the intensions of this group of angels were not for themselves but someone else. Someone that was either sick, in pain or suffering; and they were praying to Jesus with the certainty that he understood what human pain and sickness is, and the certainty that he could hear our prayers and that he had the power to help.
I left the room that morning asking myself, why? Why, instead of asking for stuff for themselves, they all asked Jesus to help someone else, and it has taken me the whole season of lent to find an answer to this question. These Children understood what Easter morning is all about. They prayed in the way they did because, my brothers and sisters, these children are what I call, People of Easter Morning. For them God is real, Jesus is alive, and it does not matter how bad the medical prognosis is or how much human pain our loved ones are experiencing, for People of Easter Morning, God’s mercy, love and hope is just a prayer away. I have to admit I was humbled by this lesson, after 50 years of life I finally understood what the Lord meant when he said that the kingdom of heaven is here and that it belongs to those who are like children.
The problem we grown-ups encounter is that we get so involved in the problems of everyday life, thinking that we need to somehow solve these by our selves, that we live as if we were stuck on Good Friday!
Many years ago I saw a car sticker that nicely captured this idea it simply said “If you believe in God, why do you live like he does not exist?”, sometimes we want to exert so much control in our lives and the lives of others that we forget that at the end of the day God is the only one that is in control. When you combine this with the fact that our culture operates as if God does not exist; we have to admit we find ourselves in a pretty pathetic situation!
Jesus spent the last three years of his life telling about God’s love and how to experience the joy of Easter in every moment of our lives, and we live our lives as if he is still resting quietly in his tomb. There is not much difference between the apostles that first Easter morning and us! When you are stuck on Good Friday, you do not know where to go or what to do and life becomes just series of struggles we just have to endure alone. It does not matter how much we come to church if we live as if Jesus were still dead, resting quietly in his tomb, we live a lonely life devoid of any hope.
But like the women who received the news from the angel in today’s Gospel, in this glorious Easter morning we are called to be like children again, to be people of Easter. People that have an unbreakable trust in the power of Jesus Resurrected, people convinced that God understands our suffering because of Jesus suffering in the cross, people that have an unyielding hope that God is in control and that at the end, it does not matter how bad our situation is, we too will rise again with Him. And when we become Easter people, we become people who cannot stay quiet, people who need to go out into the world and communicate the good news “CHRIST IS RISEN, HE HAS RISEN INDEED! Like our Kindergarteners we become people of faith and hope in the power of the Risen Christ to resurrect us too.
You know my brothers and sisters, if you ever question if God hears your prayers, or if you ever wander if there is still faith in the world, if you ever feel lonely and that there is not light at the end of the tunnel and that in fact you are not in a tunnel but in a tomb or a sepulcher, I invite you to pay a visit to Miss Trish and Miss Maureen’s Sunday morning class, ask the kids to pray with you, ask the kids to pray for you and you will see what people of Easter Morning look like. Happy Easter everyone!