The Great Vigil of Easter at St Peter the Apostle Church in Naples, FL

 Luke 24, 1-12

March 26, 2016 at Saint Peter the Apostle Church in Naples, FL

Rolled in place and set with a seal, that stone was there to stay so some thought, but those women who had a different idea.

We all have our versions of that stone in our lives. Every one of us here knows what it is like to be in a tomb with a big stone in our way. We know what it is like to be trapped, blocked, or held back from something we want, need, or have dreamed of. We have stones of resentment that keep us entombed in bitterness or anger and rob us of Joy. We have stones of the past, mistakes we’ve made, failures, disappointments, and broken dreams that rob us of Joy. We have stones of self-doubt and depression, stones of old memories and shadows of a past that haunt us and steal our Joy. We have the stones of ignorance and prejudice, unbelief and doubt, stones of fear, independence and stubbornness that have been in our way, blocked our growth, and stifled the work of the Spirit.

But we are here, all of us because those stones have not been as permanent as we thought. A glimmer of light as dim as a candle shines into the darkness of all that stuff with a flicker of hope that gives us reason to think like the women of this Gospel that someone will roll back the stone. We are in this holy place, priests and deacons, sponsors, baptized, and confirmed, children and grandparents, friends, and neighbors all because someone has rolled back the stone that have kept us apart, kept us in the dark, and kept us from the light of a resurrection day.

The story of these women is our best news, and they are great teachers, for they came to that tomb in hope and certain that someone would roll back the stone that kept them from Jesus. Little did they know along the way what it might all mean and what would happen when they found the stone rolled back and what they would become because of it.

It shall not be different for us. The stones have to go. Expect that they will, be confident that by your hope and by the power of Life itself in Jesus Christ all the stones will roll away.

This is the news we share this night. This is the way we walk to the tombs that darkness, sin, and Satan may have prepared for us; singing the Alleluia of Life itself. Walk together, stay together, and preserve this oneness, because the sin and sadness of death, the violence, hatred, anger, power and envy of the days before did not break them apart, scatter them in weakness, nor destroy the bond and unity for which Jesus had prayed just before his death.

It shall be so for us. Stay together, that is the essence of “church”. Look at the ministers at this altar. It is a vision of the church. Two islands and two continents, cultures, colors, and people all one in Christ’s church. In that unity, no stone stays put, no stone is too heavy, no stone can keep us from the risen Christ. Be Joyful. Be confident. Be grateful. Be faithful. Christ is risen, and we shall rise again with him by the power of his Spirit.

Father Tom Boyer