The story is told about a preacher who, wanting to console the grieving family, used the analogy of the peanut to explain the mystery of death and the life beyond. Pointing to the deceased, he ended up saying:  “What we have here is just the shell. The nut is gone”—to the consternation and amusement of the congregation!

* * *

Today is Easter Sunday. Happy Easter, everyone! The Resurrection is the central mystery of our faith. Death is not the end. Because of the Resurrection, we have the promise of eternal life and the hope of being united with God and with all our departed loved ones at the end of our earthly lives. Because of the Resurrection, we will be in that kingdom where there are no more tears, no more fears, no more pain, no more problems, no more goodbyes. Praise God! Alleluia!

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Jn. 20, 1-9), we hear the account of John about the empty tomb on that first Easter morning. There was a lot of fear, excitement, and confusion in Mary of Magdala, Peter, and John. Most of all, there was a lot of mystery and awe as they saw the empty tomb and the burial clothes, “for they did not yet understand the scripture that He had to rise from the dead.”

* * *

Death is a mystery, and the Resurrection is still a deeper mystery. In a way, we are “nuts” if we try to understand and explain in our own terms what a mystery is all about because a mystery is something bigger than ourselves.  A mystery is not something we seize and capture.  On the contrary, it is something that seizes and captures us.

* * *

We live in a world that makes it easy for us to “capture the moment.” Modern audio, video, and communication gadgets give us instant and immediate results. The downside of this phenomenon is that we lose the depth and the grip of being “captured by the moment.”  As it were, we begin to see everything or even everyone as something that can be captured, managed, or even manipulated. We have lost our sense of awe and mystery. In this world of instants, we have become distant from God, from each other, from the world, and even from ourselves.

* * *

The Holy Week has come and gone, for those who walked it in awe and mystery, well and good. For those who captured or just managed it, it is something that just came and went. If anything at all, may the events and mysteries that unfolded before us remind us that there are some things bigger than ourselves, and that there is a limit in what we can know, understand, solve, manage, or control. Yes, we are not managers. We are disciples, with a Master.

* * *

As long as a person believes that there is something greater than himself/herself, he/she will not fall into the danger of becoming a “nut” who thinks that he/she is all-important or indispensable, or worse, that everything or everyone has a price and can be bought for a fee.

* * *

What is your passion in this life? What moves you? What seizes you? Some people are so passionate about worldly riches, power, fame, and pleasures. It’s all about these and themselves. On the other hand, there are people who are not afraid of passion (suffering) and have passion (enthusiastic love) for nobler things in life, and who do not lose their sense of compassion for others through it all.

* * *

Congratulations to our dear graduates, and to those who helped them graduate. Please remember our final graduation at the end of our lives, and let us make sure that we “make it” there. Remember, our earthly journey is not about going far and fast, but a journey to God’s heart.

* * *

Radio and TV personality Ted Failon relates the story of how none of the high school graduates stood up when he asked in a commencement speech who among them was a child of a market vendor, until finally one did. Then Representative Failon asked her to come up the stage with her lowly parents, and honored them before the audience and the other graduates. He even announced a full college scholarship for her, from him who is himself a child of a market vendor. Something like that, in the Resurrection.

* * *

It is quite significant that the election campaign for local officials started last March 29, Good Friday. Perhaps it is a good reminder for them to campaign first for God’s mercy and forgiveness? Or that they should not inflict more pain and suffering on our people? Or perhaps to remind them that public service is a road that leads to suffering, sacrifice, and even crucifixion!

* * *

“Nuts” are those who, because of their human wisdom and resources, think that life is manageable and easy, “just like eating peanuts.” Also, “nuts” are those who think they can control their own lives and other peoples’ lives. “Nuts” are those who forget that the road of sacrifice and humility is the road that leads to eternity.

* * *

Think about this:  “God is so good, for beyond the darkness, He gives us light; beyond our nightmares, He gives us dreams; beyond our fears, He gives us comfort.”

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind me that I am small, and that if I pretend to be tall, I will fall.  Amen.

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Tags: Catholic Church , Easter Sunday , Fr. Jerry M. Orbos , Gospel , Moments , opinion , Peanuts , Religion , Resurrection , SVD

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