8 April 2018
Second Sunday of Easter or Sunday of Divine Mercy
John 20:19-31 + Homily
19 Minutes 19 Seconds
(from the parish bulletin)
In the thirteenth century, Pope Gregory IX wrote that “the evening of the world is now declining,” and he thought that time itself would soon end. But the setting of the sun is prelude to its rising, and in the darkness of Good Friday was a rumor of expectation. Even our national lore links dawn with promise: “… by the dawn’s early light . . . at the twilight’s last gleaming…” Ellerton’s hymn about sunset senses what was going on in other parts of empire: “The sun that bids us rest is waking / Our brethren ’neath the western sky…”
Gospel accounts are ambiguous about when the women discovered the empty tomb. John says it was “very early, while it was yet dark.” Saint Augustine, with his typical common sense, decided that Matthew’s account of the “end of the Sabbath” might simply be another way of describing what the other Evangelists recounted. Those hours clocked a change in the whole world. Christ predicted the moral confusion of those who would deny the Resurrection when it happened in their own precinct: “When evening comes, you say, ‘The weather will be fair, for the sky is red; and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times!” (Matthew 16:2-3).
In dark days, Churchill found solace in his paint box. He averred that if there is a Heaven, he would spend the first ten thousand years there painting pictures in the brightest colors. Without any intention of irreverence, one may indulge an image of the Risen Lord opening a celestial paint box and saying, as Turner said to a woman who complained that she had never seen a sky that looked the way he painted it: “Perhaps so, but don’t you wish you had?”