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An Easter sermon on John 20:1-9

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By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church
St. Benignus Catholic Church 
St. Mary Queen of Heaven
and Holy Trinity Catholic Church

There is an old proverb about how to live well: “The secret to living well and longer is to eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure." 

My mother lived that proverb to the ripe age of 97. She poured love into her family without measure. She passed to Heaven three years ago. The only earthly memento I have of her is this old, very expensive IBM typewriter she bought for me in 1984. She took a side job by making and selling her handmade ceramics to pay for it. I remember the day she gave it to me. She called me into another room where I could hear the clicking of keys as she sat there typing. 

I remember saying, "Oh, Mom, that's so cool. Why did you buy this?" 

She looked up, smiled and said, "For you."

I used this typewriter for 40 years, never once needing repair. The white keys are blackened from use. So many memories stored on those keys, including an obituary I wrote for my mom. Then several weeks ago, it broke. Too old and expensive to fix. I can't bring myself to throw it away. It's my only earthly link to Mom's love for me. 

But Easter changes everything. Like John who saw inside the tomb and believed, I see by faith the Resurrected Jesus and believe.

Because of Easter, I believe I will see my mom again. I don't need that typewriter anymore.

Because of Easter, I believe death does not have the final word. It is only a door opening to a new life so wonderful that St. Paul wrote, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9.)

Because of Easter, I believe our hope for peace and love will triumph over discord and hate. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.)

Because of Easter, I believe the punishment I deserve for my sins is no more. A preacher once said, "Jesus paid a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay."

Because of Easter, I believe all suffering will be no more. "Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat...and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Rev. 7:16-17.)

Easter invokes in me feelings of gratitude to Jesus. As my time on this earth grows shorter, I thank Jesus. He has prepared a new home for me. I look forward to being in one of those rooms in our Father's house. Instead of just telling God I'm grateful, I want to show Him I'm grateful. I recall an old Jewish tale that explains atheists.

A rabbi was asked by one of his students. "Why did God create atheists?" 

God created atheists he said, to teach us the most important lesson of them all – the lesson of true compassion. When someone reaches out to you for help, you should not say "I’ll pray that God will help you." Instead, for that moment, you should become an atheist – imagine there is no God who could help and say "I will help you.”

Years later, I asked Mom what she was typing. She said, "Oh, a love letter to you." 

Easter is a love letter from Jesus written in the ink of His Blood. Use your life to write a love letter back to Him. I believe in God who helps us all. Happy Easter.

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