St. Clare of Montefalco parish in Grosse Point Park, Michigan, has a wonderful tradition of sharing resurrection stories. Since 2013, parishioners have shared their stories of personal resurrection with the community between Easter and Pentecost Sunday during the liturgy. “We all have a story. Most likely not dramatic, but a story to tell,” the parish shares on their website (https://stclarem.org/resurrection-stories). “A Resurrection story is sharing where you see Christ in your life. How you recognize him, how you act on that, and how you share your faith with others. It could be how your life has been influenced by Christ and how that gave you hope.”
As I began to scroll through some of the resurrection stories listed on the website, I expected to read dramatic tales, of lives completely turned around, perhaps of an addict finding recovery, a life-changing conversion, perhaps even a near-death experience. Now, to be honest, I didn’t read all of the stories, there are dozens posted from several years of this tradition. But what I did find truly were resurrection stories — stories of faith lived out in what may seem as ordinary ways. However, the truth is that faith lived out today in our world truly is extraordinary. We find Jesus, we find resurrection, in the midst of our regular, ordinary lives.
Easter is one of those holidays when folks tend to come home. Home to visit Mom and Dad, or Grandma, or other iterations of family. And, we all know that Easter is one of those Sundays in the church year when folks tend to come home to the church. So, wherever you are on your journey of faith, no matter how long its been since we’ve seen you, we’re really glad you’re here. Welcome home.
Matthew reminds us that after the resurrection, Jesus returned home as well. In this retelling of the resurrection story, the angel told Mary Magdalene and the other Mary that Jesus had gone before them to Galilee. Jesus met them on the road home to Galilee, telling the women to tell everyone else to return home as well.
And with that return home, Jesus’ life and ministry came full circle. His roots were in Galilee, the home Joseph chose for his young family. His ministry began there. His life may have ended in Jerusalem, in the center. But his resurrection led him back to the margins of Galilean life, back to where it all began. It was there, the writer of Acts tells us, that he gathered with his friends once more at table, eating and drinking with them after he rose from the dead. It was there, in Galilee, in the margins, where he gathered his disciples and called them to preach the good news of salvation, a prophetic practice that has continued throughout the years and to this day. And we are reminded today that such preaching not only moves hearts, and calls us to action, but it leads us to believe in our resurrected Lord, and in that belief, we, in his name, receive forgiveness for our sins.
Today, our long journey of Lent is over. We have walked together through these last few days, the ups and the downs, the pain, the grief, the sorrow. And now we realize that such a journey has led us to our resurrection feast. A table of plenty, a hope-filled celebration of love. We left our fears and our shame at the foot of the cross, and now we rise again with Jesus.
Jesus Christ is risen today. He calls us, from Galilee, to join him in the margins. To preach the good news, to welcome the stranger, to comfort the afflicted, to continue with renewed hope the work of ministry we’ve all been called to in our baptism.
This is our resurrection day. Let us join with our brothers and sisters in Michigan and share with each other our resurrection stories, our own experiences of faith lived out in the midst of this community.
In the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “Easter means hope prevails over despair. Jesus reigns as Lord of Lords and King of Kings…Easter says to us that despite everything to the contrary, his will for us will prevail, love will prevail over hate, justice over injustice and oppression, peace over exploitation and bitterness.”
Let it be so. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Originally published in “Loose-leaf Lectionary for Mass,” Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. Copyright 2020. For subscription information, visit: https://litpress.org/loose-leaf-lectionary/index