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A very dedicated parishioner had died and the pastor was sick. Nevertheless, the pastor felt he had to do the funeral services and go to the cemetery which was 50 miles out of town. To make things easier for the pastor, the funeral director let the pastor ride with him in the front seat of the hearse as they went to the cemetery. After the prayers at the cemetery, the pastor felt even worse and the
funeral director suggested that the pastor lie down in the back of the hearse now that the deceased had been buried.

On the way home the funeral director stopped to get gas. As the attendant was filling the gas tank, the pastor woke up and peeked out the side window of the hearse. That’s when the gas station attendant became a believer in the resurrection!

My sisters and brothers this year, most of our gospel readings came from the gospel of Mark. Mark knew of the many appearances of Jesus to the Apostles following the resurrection since St. Paul tells us about them in his letters, letters that were written 5, 10, 15 years before Mark’s gospel was written. Still, Mark’s gospel tells us that the tomb was empty when some women came looking for Jesus. An angel told the women the reason it was empty was because Jesus had risen. Perhaps in ending this way, Mark wanted us to ask ourselves what the empty tomb means for us in our lives. Do we believe, as St. Paul tells us, that as Christ was raised from the dead, we too, through our baptism, have come to live in a newness of life?

Hope grows out of faith. It all depends on what we believe; that is, what we tell ourselves. If we believe that things are hopeless and they will only get worse, then we will be depressed. If we believe that even when things seem hopeless, God will ultimately get us through it all and lead us to a joy that will never end, then we will have hope. This is what Jesus told his disciples at the Last Supper: “You are in anguish now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you!” That’s what I tell myself when I am worried or troubled—that God will make something good come out of this event or this situation.

Easter, then, is where we find the faith that brings true and positive hope!!! We believe that Jesus died and truly rose from the dead. As St. Paul reminds us, we believe that the destiny of Jesus is also our destiny. We believe that our human body and spirit share in God’s image and likeness. We believe that we, along with all our loved ones who have loved God, will, through the life giving power of God, be transformed and shall live forever.

My Sisters and Brothers, Easter, then is the “ground-zero” of our faith and the source of all our HOPE, and so we say, ALLELUIA….PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!! JMJ…………………………………………………………………………….……………………….. Fr. Bob

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