Bringing Jesus into our tombs

April 11, 2020 – Easter Vigil Homily

Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041120.cfm)

Homily shared by Fr. Mar Masangcay, CSsR

Alleluia. The Lord has risen. He has risen indeed, Alleluia.

Our Christian faith makes us believe and proclaim that our Lord Jesus Christ has risen into our lives. But how real and meaningful is His resurrection now in our lives? Perhaps on this year’s Easter night, Pope Francis may help us discover the meaning of resurrection in our lives today. 

In his homily last 5th Sunday of Lent 2017 while reflecting on the revival of Lazarus from death, Pope Francis shared a profoundly striking reflection about our faith and life as Christian. In a video posted by Catholic News Agency on Facebook, the Pope said first these words: “In front of the big “why” of life, we have two paths: to stay to watch gloomily the tombs of yesterday and today OR to bring Jesus into our tombs.” 

If we really come to think of it, in our journey through life we are always confronted with big question “Why?” Since we were kids, we ask and also being asked with “Why?” – searching for answers, reasons and sense of everything in life. And as we struggle with the question “Why” and its answers along the way, we may choose to just on our own observing-sulking with our struggle and difficulties OR we could allow Jesus to be part in our search for answers. We have the option, as Pope Francis says: “to stay to watch gloomily the tombs of yesterday and today OR to bring Jesus into our tombs.”

Then he said, “Yes, because each of us has a small tomb – some area that is a little bit dead inside the heart: a wound, an injury suffered or done, a bitterness that does not let up, a remorse that comes back and back (again and again), a sin that you cannot overcome.”…

 “Each of us has a small tomb”. Though still alive and breathing, we also know that somehow somewhere deep within us something is dead or dying. These are the small tombs – our dark caves or secret holes and sides, our hurts and pains, sufferings, failures, hate, anger, hopelessness, frustrations, fears and worries, addictions, sins and shadows that we usually bury and hide from ourselves and others in our lives.

As for Pope Francis’ advice: “We identify these today – our little tombs we have inside, and there invite Jesus.”  With these tombs, the invitation is really for us not to hide and suppress, but to recognize and confront them with care. And most importantly, to invite Jesus into our tombs and allow Him to be part of our death and dying inside our tombs. He can only resurrect us and bring back to life again our death and dying if only we invite and allow the Lord to be part and be with our journey & struggles in life.

But Pope Francis knows how hard it is to invite the Resurrected Jesus into our tombs, when he noticed, “It’s strange, but often we prefer to be alone in the dark caves we have inside. Instead of inviting Jesus, we are tempted to always look into ourselves, brooding and sinking in anguish. Licking our wounds rather than going to Him who says, “Come to me, you who are weary and burdened”.

The invitation and challenge of Easter – of the Lord’s resurrection in our lives is to invite the risen Lord into our own tombs. The empty tomb of Jesus reveals to us that the Lord has risen and out to offer us more than death but life and life eternal. He only wishes to be invited and partake into our own small tombs so that He can share to us New Life with Him. No more being alone – on our own in our own tombs. No more hiding, navel-gazing, just looking into oneself – licking wounds, brooding and sinking in anguish. Allow the risen Lord into our own tombs of grief, fear, sadness, anxiety, pains and sufferings for the He has something better and good to offer us – life eternal with Him.   

To have a more real and meaningful celebration of Easter Season, though difficult it may be, invite the risen Lord into your own small tombs now. Let Him in and allow Him to be there and be part of everything. And perhaps ask yourself: What is the risen Lord offering me now here inside my tomb? What is it in TO me and what’s in FOR me? Healing, Forgiveness, Hope, Mercy, Love, Release, Liberation, New Life…..? 

Again, as we celebrate Easter Season while even on quarantine, lockdown & social distancing, may we be reminded and be moved by the words of Pope Francis:

“In front of the big “why” of life, we have two paths: to stay to watch gloomily the tombs of yesterday and today OR to bring Jesus to (into) our tombs. Yes, because each of us has a small tomb – some area that is a little bit dead inside the heart: a wound, an injury suffered or done, a bitterness that does not let up, a remorse that comes back and back (again and again), a sin that you cannot overcome. We identify these today – our little tombs we have inside, and there invite Jesus. It’s strange, but often we prefer to be alone in the dark caves we have inside. Instead of inviting Jesus, we are tempted to always look into ourselves, brooding and sinking in anguish. Licking our wounds rather than going to Him who says, “Come to me, you who are weary and burdened”.

May we have a graced-filled Easter with our risen Lord in our inner tombs. Amen.

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