“Christ is alive!”.. “Christ is alive; he is our hope, & in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these.. Christ is alive,& he wants you to be alive” Words of Pope Francis addressed to young people of the Church at Synod on Youth in Rome October 2018 ..& this morning it addressed to you..each & everyone of you, from our youngest baby Louis William Slingsby to our oldest Max age 101..each of us young Christians in these first few hours of Easter, & our new life in the Risen Christ.. ..a new you, a new beginning & a new life.. “Christ has died..Christ is Risen..Christ will come again” remember it..where did I used to hear that ?..well Christ has come again this morning in the person of each of you.. & bless you for choosing to come to us & for making our Easter..
..for the times we try to get our minds round Easter instead of opening our hearts as an empty tomb to it, let us ask for Our Risen Lord’s forgiveness..
“..tell me where you have put him..” for not being there with Mary Magdala & for not challenging for an answer.. ; Lord have mercy “..”Mary” said the gardener “& she knew him then” ..& will you hear him voice your name?..reminding you of the loving intimacy between you ?.. ; Christ have mercy “..we have seen him..he is alive!”..& poor Peter couldn’t believe it &, worse still, he wasn’t prepared to believe her.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“..but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down & saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in..” listen to what Pope Francis wrote to our young disciples just last month , as they hurry in footsteps of young John in gospel ..”my dear young people [ thee & me too remember ] my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running “attracted by the face of Christ, who we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist, & acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers & sisters. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith..& when you arrive where have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.”..as did young John waiting for older Peter..& pray in gospel who ran race first?..”outstripping the slow & fearful” locked self protectively in upper room for fear of Jews or of migrants or of Brexit or of a Church in meltdown..or lockdown?..message is clear empowering & absolutely positive this Easter morning..”keep running the race before you, attracted by the face of Christ”..we have a great future believe me..believe me..”man woman of little faith why do you doubt?”..we are in good company..Peter believing in the call of Jesus to come to him, walked on water would you believe?..& would he believe?..indeed he did, until he took his eye off Jesus, looked down at his feet tried to realise what he was really doing & began to sink..familiar territory..smelly feet of Maudy Thursday now wet feet of Easter morning..your Easter may hinge on an Easter egg..an attractive carton, an advert in itself for next time..silver foil wrapping..a chocolate egg..which you begin to discern..thick or thin/ chocolate plain or milk/ heavy or light..& then the moment of excitement you break it open..to find it disappointingly empty or full of the real treat..young John & notice not Peter yet..got the real treat of empty tomb..”he saw & he believed”..a great future then & an ongoing great future now 21 April 2019..& when you eventually come to a resurrection moment & it dawns on you just how joyfully your hope persistence & achievement has been, please remember me in a prayer, as I told you first..last month some work in Community on where we are & where we might be going..one monk, last to speak his truth, held back in humility, spoke wonderfully of a ship..the mast like a Cross “with a billowing sail” he said..I imagined the following wind of Holy Spirit powering us on in the race before us..I thought of earlier use of a mast as look out point..youngest in crew climbed up to crow’s nest from where he could see into the distance & see things in water more clearly from height..to see to believe what only he could see, & then rush down to tell convince rest of crew..”we have seen him..he is alive!”..in need of his/your momentum intuitions & your faith..we need you to see, then vitally to believe in what you see..see differently, with your divine spectacles on, not your ordinary spec-savers..we are extraordinary disciples not ordinary practising Catholics..I thought of a ship entering a port to discharge its cargo..on its side it has name of its home port..but in foreign waters it flies a flag of convenience which gives it safe welcome passage to come & go as it needs..here this morning we have a number of outsiders who come from other parishes or maybe come to Church only once/twice a year..bringing us their giftedness their story their experience of faith out there on high seas..seeking from us a calmness of welcome & love..so so vital.. imagine what would happen to Hull Docks if ships never visited..never felt welcomed..or we insisted on strict tide times..or they came/saw in us too many low tide moments..or felt judged as too slow too different or rusty..& imagine taking mast/Cross down holding it horizontally..it becomes a yoke..a frame where two oxen or two disciples pulling together at an agreed pace pull the slow dull unable along on our journey in faith..or plough this parish field of ours turning soil allowing moisture sunlight grace to enter our precious little acre & let God do the rest with us..a parish where our slowest most disabled bedbound & voiceless disciple speaks, with her eyes & smile, a belief in the Risen Christ rest of us would die for..like the “other disciple” in gospel, I don’t need to name him nor ours now..”he saw & he believed” then &“she sees & she believes” now, believe me.. “keep running” she would say to you if she could..”attracted by the face of Christ we acknowledge in our suffering brothers & sisters..”..”& when she arrives at the place where we have not yet reached, [we ask her] to have the patience to wait for us..” [ Easter Day Jn20;1-9]