The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

Earthquakes and Galilee

April 20, 2014 click on left end of black bar to play-pause
April 20th 2014
Gospel: Matthew 28: 1-10
Father George Smiga

Earthquake.  Go.  Galilee.

These are three words from today’s gospel. If we combine them together, the deepest meaning of Easter will emerge.

Matthew is the only one of the gospel writers who includes an earthquake in his Easter story. It is not there as a casual detail. Throughout the Bible, earthquakes are signs that God is changing things, that God is transforming the world. So Matthew includes an earthquake to make it clear that the resurrection of Jesus is not only about Jesus, nor it is only an event that happened two thousand years ago.

Jesus’ resurrection is about God changing the world today. You see, on that first Easter, God began the process of cleaning up the mess of this world. God began to destroy every evil and all that was opposed to God’s will. God raised Jesus up and made him the Lord of a new creation, a creation without poverty and hunger, a creation without injustice and violence, a creation without sickness and death. Now of course this new creation is still a work in progress. It will not be completed until Jesus returns again in glory. But it started at the empty tomb. That is why the earth shook, because it knew that its transformation had begun.

But the earthquake leads to the command: “Go.” Both the angel and Jesus tell the women to “go.” Easter is not about hanging around the empty tomb or clinging to the risen Lord. Easter is being sent out, going out to participate in Jesus’ mission. If God has begun in Christ to establish a new creation, we are to go and become a part of building it. We are to be God’s agents in the world, attacking poverty and hunger, opposing injustice and violence, comforting the sick and the dying. Being a disciple of Jesus is more than avoiding sin or coming to Church or learning our catechism. Being a disciple of Jesus is joining with Jesus in building the kingdom of God.

Now how do we do that? Here is where the third word is helpful: “Galilee.” Galilee was the home of Jesus and his disciples. They left Galilee to come to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. There, Jesus was crucified and raised up. But on Easter the women are sent to Galilee. They are sent home. They are to go to where they live, where they have connections and influence. The presence of Galilee in today’s gospel is a reminder to us that as agents of God’s transformation we are to go to where we live, to where our work on behalf of the kingdom can have the most influence.

We will not be able to bring about peace in Syria or the Ukraine, but we can be peacemakers in our own families by our patience, by our honesty, and by our willingness to forgive. We cannot free those who are oppressed by inhuman working conditions in South East Asia, but we can stand up for the kid at school who is bullied or support the woman in our workplace who is demeaned or treated unjustly. We might not be able to feed hungry children in Africa, but we can cooperate with our friends and our colleagues to look at the issues of hunger in our own city and discover ways in which the poor can learn skills that will allow them to support themselves.

Earthquake. Go. Galilee.

Easter is about God cleaning up the mess of our world. We are called to go to those Galilees where we live and have influence and join in the effort. Easter is not about bunnies and pastel eggs. It is a bold proclamation that God has begun to transform this broken world, and that we are to go out in Jesus’ name and help God shake the earth!

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