When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you." So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
As I’ve told you in the past.. I like for my television programming to be intellectually stimulating… I like to constantly be stretching and growing my mind.. so I stay away from things on the History Channel or the Learning Channel.. and go straight for the meat and potatoes – America’s Funniest Home Videos with an occasional episode or two of Friends just for a good laugh – but I do watch other things as well that are equally as stimulating. For a while I was on Mythbusters.. then I moved over to Miami Ink – especially when Kat Von D was on for a while.. followed by Deadliest Catch. However.. now I’ve found one that I am absolutely hooked on – Ghost Adventures… With my buddies Zak, Nick and Aaron. Zak is the front man with the weird hair.. Nick is the serious one… and Aaron is the one who acts a bit like Shaggy in Scooby Doo.
They’ve got all this really great equipment too for detecting the ghosties… digital recorders to capture EVPs – that’s Electronic Voice Phenomenon for you non-Ghost believers… there are the night vision cameras.. infrared imaging.. the works. What is so tragic is that so often the ghost drain the energy of their cameras.. so just when they are about to capture something good like a full body apparition on tape.. the camera dies and so they just have to tell you about instead of showing it to you – I’m so disappointed for them.
The reason I mention this is because of our Gospel reading today. Jesus has been dead and in his tomb for three days, yet now.. he is appearing to the living... Is he a ghost? Is this the full body apparition that Zak, Nick and Aaron are always talking about, or is it something all together different?... The gospel writers are very careful about this in helping us to understand that what these women are seeing - and for that matter at all the appearances of Jesus following his resurrection - is not a ghost...
For example our gospel from today said... Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.... “they took hold of his feet”.. well you can’t grab a hold of a ghost - everybody know that.... In later appearances we are told that they also touched him... others walked down the road with him and broke bread with him... there is the time when he will meet with the disciples on the shore of the sea - and all of these things occurred after his death and resurrection.. and none of these things could have been done by a ghost -- it was the Risen Lord.. He IS alive.
Now.. After his resurrection we know that he ascended into heaven so that we can no longer see him as he was.. and for many their response to that event is, “Well isn’t that convenient.”... a bit like the witness to a crime going missing leaving only someone else’s word that the crime actually took place... I think the lawyers would say that its all circumstantial evidence.. or something like that.
Perhaps more folks would believe that Jesus is in fact the risen Lord if they could take hold of his feet... have breakfast with him on the shore of the sea... As we read in our Gospel tonight.. Jesus told Mary “tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." and many today would ask, “Where is my Galilee that I might see Him?”... You know how I respond to that?... Open your eyes.. he is all around you... It is as St. Patrick wrote..
Christ beside me, Christ before me;
Christ behind me, Christ within me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me;
Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising;
Christ in heart of all who know me,
Christ on tongue of all who meet me,
Christ in eye of all who see me,
Christ in ear of all who hear me.
Open your eyes.... you won’t see a ghost.. you’ll see the Risen Lord... you’ll see Jesus.