Author: Fr. Michael Byron
April 12, 2020

First it was Good Friday, the day on which all of this Corona Virus uncertainty and its effects were supposed to be over. The governor told us so last month. Than it was today, Easter, the day on which our economy was going to be back up and running again. The President told us so last month. Now it’s May 4, maybe. Or perhaps July. Or many more months from now. We just want all this to be over, and we wait for the leader who seems to know best to give us the world with authority and knowledge. Is it Dr. Fauci? Dr. Osterholm? Who can tell us when we will be safe again, when we will be together again? Whose forecast is trustworthy and true? Who do we believe with certainty?

Today we remember again that there is exactly one person who is worthy of that kind of absolute trust and confidence. His name is Jesus. And here’s what he says:

“It’s already over! It’s already over!”

Not the virus. Not the need for caution and prudence. That’s not yet over. But the need to fear ultimately for our own well-being, and that of those whom we love? That’s over! It ended on Easter morning in Jerusalem. The power of feeling alone and adrift and trapped by scary life circumstances? That’s over! And the always looming threat of death up ahead, and all that represents as the limit to what we can ever do or who we can ever be? That’s over!

When the two apostles, Peter and the un-named, beloved other one, stepped in to Jesus’s tomb that Easter morning, they found a message inside that was left by our Lord. The message was in the form of burial garments, and a head covering, all neatly rolled up. And the message from Jesus was this:

“I won’t be needing these any more. Let the truly dead people make use of them. For me, and for all who would place their trust in me, this is over.”

The message was a “get-out-of-jail-free” card, intended for anyone and everyone who would simply say yes to it. It’s over – and not as the result of anything we’ve done well enough to deserve or to figure out.

The things that most threaten us are, and never were, the things that scientists and politicians and physicians can think our way out of, or predict. (Clergy either!) Those are all noble and necessary activities, but none of them is Easter. What we’re doing here and now is Easter, and our proclamation today is:

“Alleluia – because it’s finally over. Not someday. Now!”

To say that does not mean that we believers are a crowd of naïve, happy-faced, sunshiny deniers of real life. It is snowing outside at the moment. And there is still a virus out there.

In fact it is exactly the opposite. It doesn’t take much faith or courage to proclaim that all is well when the circumstances of our lives and our homes and our communities and our jobs and our country seem already to reflect that to any casual observer. When things are fine, “Alleluia” seems easy. Maybe even unnecessary. No, Easter faith is proven when the opposite is true – when things seem very threatening and dangerous and sad and uncertain, and when all the predictions about when it will all end seem unreliable and false. And when we can’t even be in church together.

We Easter people are the ones who are sometimes considered foolish because of our stubborn proclamation – even now – that it’s already over. It is! We believe this, long before we come to understand how it can all be so.

In today’s Resurrection gospel of John, he is careful to say that those two apostles inside the tomb received Jesus’s message left there for them, and that they believed it, even before they could understand it.

“They saw and believed, because they did not yet understand the Sacred Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”

Easter faith is not the result of connecting all the logical dots and coming to a measured conclusion. It’s about being willing to begin by being utterly amazed and disoriented and confounded by what we  were expecting – like finding a message of eternal life left inside a tomb, or of hearing that “it’s already over” in a season of viral pandemic. And that is really a great thing, right?! I don’t entirely understand it either – but I know it, and so do you.

“It’s already over! Christ is risen! We are safe from the worst threats that could ever harm us!
Happy Easter! Alleluia!”

Pax Christi Catholic Community

12100 Pioneer Trail
Eden Prairie, MN 55347


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