1. Some of you know that I often despair
a. That in our world
i. of hundreds of streaming platforms
ii. and thousands of TV channels
b. In a world where
i. Broadway shows have grown too expensive
ii. And movie theaters are abandoned out of fear of infection,
c. there are so few cultural touchstones
i. that can unite us in shared laughter or tears.
ii. And that I can use as an opener for a homily!
2. But that does not mean that they do not exist.
3. For I ran into one of them a little while ago
a. when I told a group of friends
i. that I had caught the end of the movie, “Sex in the City”
4. Now some of you are gasping,
a. “Father, you watched THAT ????”
5. To which I have to say well, yes, at least the last part of it.
a. I watched it
i. because they filmed it right across the street from my last parish
ii. because it had been popular with a group of my friends.
iii. And because frankly,
1. I wondered what the fuss was all about.
6. When those friends heard that I had seen this movie,
a. They all wanted to know
i. what I, the priest, thought about it.
b. I have to be honest.
i. All I could do was shrug and say, “I dunno.
1. Never really saw the TV show,
2. Only came in on the end of the movie,
3. Seemed nice, but I don’t get what all the fuss is about.”
7. This was heresy to my friends because
a. This story of a group of young, well - dressed New York women named Carrie and Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda
i. had taught them
ii. AND MANY OTHER WOMEN
iii. to live for themselves and
iv. Had transformed their lives.
8. I share this exchange with you
a. because it reminds me of another exchange I overheard,
i. one Easter morning years ago.
b. I was standing in the back of St. Frances de Chantal Church in the Bronx
i. When a group of young well - dressed women walked out
c. And as they left, one of them said to the others,
i. “See what did I tell you?
1. Every year we come here and every year it’s the same old thing: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
2. resurrection, resurrection, resurrection,
3. blah blah blah!”
d. Obviously, they had never bothered to hear the whole story,
e. They always came in on the end,
f. And while it seemed nice,
i. they didn’t get what the fuss was about either.
9. This encounter would have been laughable,
10. if it weren’t so common.
a. For every Easter, churches are filled with people
i. who come every year,
ii. Hear the story of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead
iii. And leave wondering what the fuss is all about.
11. Alan Jones, the former Dean of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco
a. tells the story about a card he received from a parishioner
i. that illustrates this reality all too well.
b. On the outside was a picture of Jesus on the cross.
c. At its foot is an Easter bunny offering Jesus an Easter egg.
d. Inside it said, “Have an egg; you’ll feel better.” Happy Easter.
12. Whoever had sent that card
a. Obviously had no idea of the whole story,
i. And obviously did not get it either.
13. Luke, however, will not let that happen.
14. Not even to those of us who only come in on the end of the story,
a. as we do this night/day.
15. For according to Luke,
a. on that first Easter morning
i. a group of women approached the graveyard
ii. where on Friday last,
iii. Jesus was buried.
16. Their names are not
a. Carrie and Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda:
b. But Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Johanna.
17. Luke tells us that the two Marys and Johanna were disciples.
a. They were present with Jesus at the Crucifixion
b. They were present at his burial
c. And now they were present to care for his hastily buried body.
18. “What a beautiful ending to a sad story!” We think.
a. What was all the fuss about?
b. you almost expect a bunny to pop up from behind a flower and say,
i. “Have an egg, you’ll feel better.”
19. We obviously don’t get it.
20. But Luke did: for
a. In a world that was RULED by men,
i. These were women.
b. In a world were Jesus’ male disciples abandoned him out of fear of arrest,
i. These women stayed
1. Even though they risked that same arrest.
c. In a world where only men were trusted as witnesses
i. These women were the first to hear the news of resurrection
ii. The first to hear that he would meet them again
iii. The first to be given the responsibility to witness about that resurrection to others.
21. These three women came to that tomb that morning
a. because they KNEW the rest of the story,
b. They knew that in Jesus
i. They encountered a man
1. who did not rule them,
2. Did not discount their faithfulness
3. Nor dismiss their trust
c. But treated them as sisters, as disciples, as equals,
22. Their presence at that empty tomb that morning
a. And the role they were given by that angel
i. were every bit as much a scandal
ii. to the first people who heard it
b. as it would have been for us had I said
i. that the women at the tomb were not named
ii. Mary, Mary Magdalene and Johanna,
iii. but Carrie, and Samantha,
iv. Charlotte and Miranda.
23. With all due respect to all those modern women who live by the wisdom of those four women from Sex and the City
24. Jesus had changed the lives of Mary, Mary Magdalene, Johanna
a. and countless others forever afterwards
25. far more than any episode of Sex in the City ever could
26. For Jesus had freed them
a. not to live for themselves, but for others.
27. And that freedom that they got from him
a. was the way Jesus’ resurrection was first felt
b. in the lives of those who followed him.
28. And we would know that.
a. If we didn’t always come in at the end,
b. Looking for the egg,
c. And wondering afterwards what the fuss is all about.
29. But we still can.
30. On Holy Thursday, I told everyone the story of Jean Valjean
31. Who was taught by a bishop in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables,
32. What Jesus seeks to teach us all.
33. That to follow Jesus was to
a. remember that ‘to live was to give and to get’.
34. Well, this night/morning
a. we continue to follow him
b. And with the Marys and Johanna as our teachers, we continue to learn.
35. Don’t go home and remember Luke’s story we have heard this week
a. As only a story of fear and death
i. Of betrayal and abandonment
b. That we try to make better here at the end
i. with our banal greetings of “Happy Easter”
ii. and of course, our colored eggs.
36. Hang around to hear the rest of the story.
37. The story about how that man named Jesus still meets people
a. In this place and places like it:
38. People who think that life is determined
a. by what we have
b. rather than how we love.
39. People afraid like the disciples were
40. Oppressed like those women were
a. And he challenges us,
b. teaches us,
c. forgives us
d. and frees us,
i. so that we can do the same for others.
41. Remember that; and then next week come back.
a. Because Easter isn’t the end to the story!
b. It is only the end of the beginning.
c. Next week the story continues.