Easter Sunday B – April 8, 2012 – Easter Sweetness in the World
Acts 10:24, 27-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; John 20:1-9
This church this morning is an Easter basket full of glorious gifts. This day is holy because you are holy. The building is holy because you are here. How wonderful it is for us to gather to hear the Easter stories, to renew our lives as Christians, to share the sacramental bread of life and cup of salvation.
We heard three stories this morning. In the first one Peter, a disciple of Jesus, gave a summary of who Jesus was and what he did when he was alive. This was a letter written not to a large audience but most likely to one person, probably a recent convert to Christianity. In many ways it was a promotional piece, an advertisement, to keep late first century people interested in the mission and message of Jesus.
How do we stay riveted to that message today? The second reading this morning refers to you and to me as a “fresh batch of dough.” What an interesting phrase! The reading suggests that we get rid of the old yeast in our lives (old yeast goes bad) and replace it with new energy that would cause the dough to rise up.
Like many families mine gets together during this holiday. We keep age old traditions and we share certain foods. I love it that when my sister Bette and my niece Amy cook and bake, everything tastes almost the same as what my grandmother and mother used to make. By using the old recipes they help us connect with family members no longer with us. However, my sister and niece also add just a little something extra to the recipes to call them their own.
Like with recipes handed down from one generation to another so it is with Christianity. Each one of us adds something new to the church to keep traditions alive, to give them fresh interpretations, to make them more vibrant in the world today. This happens not only by remembering the old recipes, the stories, but adding new flavors. All members of the church are called to do so. How?
What is needed (pun intended), in order for you and me to rise up, to refresh Christianity, is new yeast. As many of you know, in order for yeast to do it’s thing it needs water and warmth. The yeast turns some of the flour into sugars which it uses it for energy. Then the yeast releases carbon dioxide which causes the dough to rise. (You didn’t expect a chemistry lesson this morning, did you) One could say that making the church, you and me, rise up on this Easter Sunday morning, like Jesus did, depends on adding something sweet to the church.
Finding sweetness in life today is often hard to do. So much of what goes on around us appears to be more “sour”-full than savory. We Catholics for example are constantly weighed down by reminders of how sinful we are instead of making us feel good about being members of the church. We are often asked to follow traditional rules instead of trying to figure out how to adapt them to our current daily lives. At its core, Christianity is not a complicated or rigorous religion. It is a humble and simple way of life; it is about improving ourselves, challenging corruption, and respecting others. In doing so, we give glory and praise to God.
We Christians like to believe that our faith is a good antidote to the evil in the world. That’s why we renew our covenant with God and each other during this Easter season. Splashing ourselves with water from the baptismal font may seem silly. However, it reminds us to refresh our identity in the world, to find ways to bring the hope of new life to others.
That’s what happened on that first Easter morning. The women who arrived at the tomb were surprised by what they did not find. How Jesus rose from the dead will always be a mystery, a matter of faith. We cannot prove it but we believe it. That mystery changed those women at the tomb. It fired them up to spread good news, that life on earth can be a sweet taste of heaven.
That mystery also is responsible for nurturing over 2 billion Christians in the world who gather today and next Sunday, Orthodox Easter, to commemorate Jesus conquering death. Imagine what one-third of the world’s population could do if we Christians united ourselves with people of other faiths to bring real hope to this planet. We can do so by adding something sweet, something wonderful to release a new energy that will demolish the dark tombs of life and release the radiance of Easter joy. It is our privilege and our responsibility to do so.