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April 20th 2003  Hapyy Easter!
Catholic Homilies
April 20th 2003

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Easter Sunday Jn 20/1-9 Magdalen

Happy Easter


The evangelists put their books together by compiling material from the various written and oral traditions which were available to them. (Perhaps many of the oral traditions had already been written down). No attempt was made to harmonize the various traditions of resurrection stories. Perhaps the Gospel writers thought that each story was to precious to waste. Different people had different memories of their encounters with the risen. In time these memories were shaped by various theological perspectives so they became even more difficult to harmonize. However, one theme runs through them all -surprise. Everyone who encountered the risen lord was astonished, as well they might have been. Even though we have heard these stories many times during the Easter seasons, we should try to experience once again the surprise of the first followers of Jesus. One might also note that if the stories had been written down today and we heard them for the first time, we would be shocked by the roles women played. Feminists must have written these stories, we would say.

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Once upon a time a young man came home from a prisoner of war camp who had been reported kill in action. His family and his buddies and even his girl friend had mourned him as dead and then more or less got over their grief. His sudden reappearance was disconcerting to say the least. They had all loved him, but they had in effect written him out of their lives. His girl friend was engaged to marry someone else. Moreover, he didn't seem like the boy who had gone off to war. He was thin and haggard and haunted. However, he was now mature, self-possessed, and, astonishingly, happy. He hadn't smiled much as a kid and rarely joked. Now he was witty and ebullient all the time. A quiet kid had become an outgoing adult man. He didn't fit in the patterns of relationships he had left behind. Quite the contrary, his happiness and maturity were unsettling. He congratulated his former girl friend on her coming marriage and shook hands cordially with the fiancé. There's something wrong with him, everyone said. His family went to the priest. There sure is, he priest said, he has risen from the dead and now acts like a saint.

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There sure is, he priest said, he has risen from the dead and now acts like a saint

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