Easter Vigil Preaching by Patricia Siemen, OP April 11, 2020 April 11, 2020 Genesis 1:1-5 Baruch 3:14-15; 38-14:1-2 Dialogues of St. Catherine, Chapter 11 Jeremiah 29:11-15 Romans 6:3-4 Matthew 28:1-30 The Fawn by Mary Oliver My dear Sisters, friends and loved ones, on behalf of the members of the Leadership Council gathered here tonight, I wish you a blessed Easter during this most unusual and transformative time! The readings from our prayer service tonight remind us to “Awake; be not afraid. The One you seek is not here. Go and tell the other disciples, that Jesus goes before you into Galilee. It is there that you will find him.” Despite Matthew’s directive, we cannot actually “go” to Galilee these days. Indeed, we cannot go anywhere. Instead, we remain in place as an Easter people. Our going to “Galilee” is one of being confined to our rooms, apartments, houses. We find Jesus in our closest neighbor; the persons bringing meals and mail to our rooms; the technology folks who help us connect via livestream with others. Our going into Galilee is our staying in place, distancing ourselves for the sake of protecting ourselves, and others, and not burdening an already overstretched health care system. Our witnessing to the good news is expressed through our prayer and experience of community; our connection to the wider world comes through the amazing gifts of internet and web streaming. This year we go into Galilee through technology rather than on foot or by car. Matthew’s Gospel this Easter vigil tells us that Jesus is not here. He is not where we expected: he is no longer in the tomb, nor in our emptied chapels and churches. The Risen One goes before us disguised in many forms and faces. We find him in the Galilees where health care workers, who are severely stressed and endangered, are found. He is among those bringing comfort, care and supplies to those suffering from the Covid-19 virus. He is found among the scientific researchers and those who are coordinating medical and financial relief for those in dire need. He is found in the fields where farmworkers are picking tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce so grocery stores can provide healthy food. He is found among the truck drivers bringing needed food and medical supplies to population centers around the world. The Risen One is found in the Galilees of our homes, apartments, hospitals, and nursing homes where people are caring for one another. The Risen One is found among the artists, poets and musicians who find ways to soothe our hearts and feed our souls. And, the Risen One is found in the quiet simplicity of our hearts; hearts that long to know and cling to Holy Mystery, to Eternal Truth. The One whom the two Marys seek at the tomb is not there. The stone in front of the tomb is pushed aside; the tomb is empty. As they leave dismayed and confused, Jesus appears to them. He tells them “Do not be afraid. Tell my brothers and sisters to go to Galilee where they will find me.” It is in the many Galilees of today’s world, not hiding in a tomb, that we will meet the disgraced one; the one who overcomes death. The Risen One, through the friendship and accompaniment of others, rolls back the boulders that keep us hidden in the tombs of our lives. The stones that once weighed us down and blocked us from inner freedom are removed. The stones that blind us to the sea-change in consciousness needed in order for us to love each other and to heal Earth – these stones are being been rolled away. Covid-19 has helped us to see anew what is important. Becoming a beloved community, a global community united in one mind and heart, as Jesus prayed during his final supper with his friends, is what is important as we go towards the Galilees in our lives. Today we move as an Easter people into the midst of a pandemic that is causing global suffering, death and grieving. We place our hope in the Risen One, in the deep sea of Eternal Truth. As we heard tonight, Catherine of Siena prays, “You, oh eternal Truth, are a deep Sea, into which the deeper I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek; …the Soul continually hungers after You. Clothe me with You, Oh Eternal Truth.” As a beloved community we swim and live in the deep sea of God who embraces and sustains us. We head towards Galilee with hope and expectation, showing everyone along the way, by our acts of compassion and mercy, that the Spirit of God indeed lives among us. Indeed, the whole Earth is our Galilee; all of creation is the Body of Christ; this is where we find the Risen One. Ilia Delio tells us, “Every act done in love gives glory to God: a pause of thanksgiving, a laugh, a gaze at the sun, or just raising a toast to your friends on your Zoom screen. The Good news? He is not here! Christ is everywhere and Love will make us whole." Let us head towards Galilee.