Warning: This post is pretty religious, so atheists should probably disregard.
I’m never late, but almost jeopardized tardiness at Easter Mass with my family. I spent several minutes primping at home in San Francisco—a rarity for me—an even coverage of foundation, a couple brushstrokes of blush, and dramatic curling of the eyelashes. What if I bumped into former classmates? I wanted to look like the same old Cathy Gacad, but this time pretty and fashionable. Because I wasn’t that in high school. I was the opposite. My compliments came in the form of a pristine transcript instead of the phone ringing and guys asking me out on dates. And what can be said for me now? Smart, professional, good job. She’s not married. No kids. Poor girl. But she still looks the same. Hasn’t gained any weight. She looks great.
Don’t tell my mom, but I was zooming down city streets when I realized I was about to be late. She called. “Cat, where are you?”
“Hi Mom. I’m on Grand and Lincoln.”
“Ok, we’re saving you a seat. We’re at the side entrance.”
I got there in the nick of time, as the priest was about to come down the aisle. It’s Easter Sunday, and I was getting there on time. The place was packed, but I had a seat thanks to my parents. They’re so good about getting to events early. I inherited that trait from both of them.
The homily today was surprisingly deep. Like pulling at your heartstrings DEEP. I had to take a tissue out of my purse; my eyes had welled up.
But the priest started out lighthearted. “How many of you are C and E Catholics? Christmas and Easter Catholics. No problem, no problem. We’re happy to have you. All are welcome.”
The theme of his homily centered around people’s fear of death. When Jesus rose from the dead, his friends were too scared to enter the tomb, fearing what they would find. Then he told two stories.
1. This was recently in the news. A Catholic archbishop in Iraq had just finished saying the stations of the cross when he was kidnapped along with two of his companions. They shot and killed both of his companions, shot him in the leg, and tossed him into the back of a truck. The archbishop took out his cell phone, placed a call to his secretary, and said, “I’ve been kidnapped. They’re going to ask for a large ransom. Do not pay it. It will only be used for ill will. I’ve had a good life.” Then hung up. He was later killed.
2. The priest has two good friends, a married couple named Justin and Amy. A few years ago, their little girl was mauled by a pit bull. She’s had to go through extensive physical reconstruction and mental rehabilitation. Amy became pregnant with her second child, a boy they named Jack. The priest received a phone call from Justin who was crying. Jack was born still. When the priest gave the funeral mass for Jack last week, Amy said, “I’m sad, but I’m not angry. God chose to take him. Jack’s with him now, but for nine months I felt him. He was my son.”
He went on to summarize that we shouldn’t fear death. Because of Jesus’ death and rising, we believe in everlasting life.
Lastly, he pointed out how often we hear people say, ‘I live for sports. I live for dance. I live for the arts.’ Wouldn’t it be a dramatic change, and how nice would it be if we said, ‘I live for Jesus Christ.’