Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday, 01-04-18

Acts 10:34, 37-40 / Colossians 3:1-4 / John 20:1-9

There is a simple game that we are familiar with and it is called “scissor-paper-stone”, played often by children.

It is a game that is usually played between two persons, in which each player simultaneously forms one of the three shapes with an outstretched hand, so it is either a scissor-shape, or a paper-shape, or a stone-shape. 

It has only two possible outcomes other than a tie – one player wins and the other player loses. As it goes, one shape will win another but will lose to the other. 

So scissors will win the paper because it cuts the paper, but scissors will lose to the stone. Though the stone will win the scissors, it will lose to the paper because paper wraps up the stone.

It is a game of chance in that one player will win and the other will lose, unless both come up with the same shape, in which case then it is a draw.

A rather interesting aspect of the game is that although the stone can win the scissors, yet it loses to the paper, in that the paper will wrap up the stone, at least according to the theory of the game.

In the Resurrection story, there is always the empty tomb and the stone that was used to cover its entrance. That stone made its prominence when it was rolled over the tomb in which Jesus was buried to seal the entrance of the tomb.

That stone was something to be reckoned with, at least it was not so easy to overcome it with paper as in that “scissor-paper-stone” game. Weighing about 2 tons and about 2 meters in diameter, it was rolled at a downward incline and over the entrance of the tomb and sits on a deep groove, thus effectively sealing the tomb. 

Moving the stone from the entrance of the tomb is not impossible, but that is certainly not an easy task, and there is no need to. Once it is rolled over the entrance of the tomb, it is sealed and it is case-closed, not to be reopened. It can be effectively called a tomb-stone.

In a way, it can be said that it was the final stone that the enemies of Jesus threw at Him to make sure that He was dead and gone.

But from a tomb-stone, Jesus made it into a stepping-stone that revealed the Resurrection. The stone was rolled away to reveal an empty tomb. Jesus is not there, and it is not because we do not know what happened. We believe that He is risen.

The stone that is rolled away, and the empty tomb are just signs, but it is with faith that we believe that Jesus is risen.

It is also with faith that we look at life and think of how to respond to the stones that are thrown at us and that lay before us in the path of life.

Those stones can either be stumbling blocks or stepping-stones. Those stones can force us into the tomb and cover us up, or we can ask Jesus to roll away those stones and bring us to new life.

So with those stones, we can choose to make them into tomb-stones, and that would be a “case-closed” and a dead end. That was what they intended to do with Jesus.

But with those same stones, we can choose to make them into stepping-stones that lead us to understand the Resurrection of Jesus, and stepping-stones to the new life that the Risen Jesus wants to give us so that we become living stones in the hands of Jesus, living stones that He can use as stepping-stones for others to come to know Him and believe in Him.

In that “scissor-paper-stone” game, the stone “loses” to the paper. Now for the stones that are thrown at us and those stumbling blocks of stone that lie in our path, let us wrap them up with paper.

Not just any ordinary paper but with these petition-slips that are always available at the entrance of the church.

Let us write down on these petition-slips those hurting and stumbling blocks of stone in our lives and put these pieces of paper into the petition box to offer them to Jesus.

Every Friday at the evening Mass, we offer up those petitions in the petition-box to Jesus.

And as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, I also want to testify that the Risen Jesus will receive our petitions, He will hear our prayers, and He will answer them.

Simply because He is risen, and He wants us to rise with Him and to be living stones building up His Church.

Jesus also wants us to be stepping-stones for others to come to Him and believe in His Resurrection.

We believe that Jesus is our Risen Saviour. Let us proclaim this Good News to those who are still living in their tombs and waiting for the stone to be removed.