Second Sunday of Easter
JN 20:19-31
April 3, 2016

At some point during my school years, I was reluctantly introduced to the works of the American poet, Emily Dickinson. Each student was required to memorize and recite a poem in front of the entire class. I chose for length, rather than for depth of meaning. My selection was:

The Bustle in a House

The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon Earth –

The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity –

Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R.W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

What’s ironic is that as I went about the easy work of committing the eight short lines to memory, the depth of meaning actually started to sink in. And as years passed, and I found myself actually awakening to “the morning after” the death of a loved one, this poem would resurface. It comes again to my mind on this Easter Monday morning 2016 as we begin the season of celebrating and exploring the infinite depths of meaning in Christ’s Resurrection.

Imagine the remaining Apostles, disciples, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and the others who did not run…flee…try to escape the savagery, huddled together in the very room which Jesus Himself arranged for them to gather and grieve. That “morning after death”…the Sabbath morning following the horrific events of Good Friday, brought with it far more than the pain of grief.

These faithful followers of The Lord were forced to undertake “the solemnest of industries” which would ever be affected on this earth. Having seen, heard, and felt the very power of the Almighty radiate from the person of Jesus, they were the first to be confronted with the Paschal Mystery.

On that chilling morning after the Crucifixion, bound together in their shock and grief…terrified that every sound outside the door of that upper room might be a death squad coming to take them, they struggled to make sense of it all. Why did the mob turn on Him? He could calm a violent storm. He could drive out demons. He could bring an overwhelming sense of peace to great crowds of people with a few simple words. Why didn’t He get control of that Good Friday mob? He called Lazarus from the tomb…why did we have to entomb Him?

And in the midst of “sweeping up their hearts”…news came that The Tomb was empty. Like every news story, The Good News came in brief and even varying “flashes” that must have been received by each in their own way. Some immediately convinced, some grasping at hope, some confused. It’s not likely that Thomas was the only one to doubt.

Then, on Easter night…the door locked against the evil lurking in the world, but their minds and hearts open…The Risen Christ stood in their midst. With time, even those with the most determined doubts found that their hearts were swept up and healed for them and they came to believe and to understand.

Because of their experiences with the Risen Christ, they came to believe and to understand that they should not put love away. Rather, it was their calling to share the Love and Peace of Jesus Christ until He returns in all of His glory to put an end to death…so that every morning dawns with perfect joy, hope, love, and everlasting peace…The Peace of Christ! Alleluia!