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Monday, February 27, 2017
Easter reflection - Canon Pat Browne
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¬†A version of Canon Browne's Easter Vigil Homily at Holy Apostle's, Pimlico, was broadcast on BBC Radio Two's Pause for Thought this morning and should be available on-line soon. For as long as I can remember one of the things Easter means for me always is - Fairyhouse Races and the Irish Grand national. It is on Easter Monday. I was brought up about a mile from the racecourse just outside Dublin and as a child I remember the excitement of seeing traffic jams in our little village as cars and buses started to arrive as early as 10 in the morning for races that would not start till 1.30pm. I also associate Easter with crisp sunshine, new blossoms telling spring is in the air. Signs of warmth and hope. They were welcome. Having lived through in the previous few days the tragedy of Good Friday ≠ Jesus' death and burial. Easter Sunday ≠ the day of his Resurrection - always came with great relief. Who wants to dwell on death! I was about ten when my great aunt Mary died. They washed her body and laid it out on her bed as the family and neighbours gathered to say their farewells. My father insisted we children do the same and one after another we came up to kiss her on the forehead. When it was my turn I recoiled when I kissed her. Her previously soft warm skin was cold and hard. It frightened me. She was not there any more. When Mary Magdalen came on Easter Sunday morning to the tomb of Jesus she found it empty and an angel asked her "why are you looking here for Jesus. He is not here. Why look among the dead for one who is alive?" Those words have always been a great help to me. Now when I visit my parents' grave as many listener's will do today this bank Holiday I hear the angel whisper in my ear ≠ "don't be sad; why look among the dead for one who lives?" When my father was still alive, he taught us a lot about the real value of money and possessions. He used to say "you can't take it with you". He was right. All our investments - be they in stocks, shares. bank accounts or ISAS. All our power and prestige and position get left behind when we die. But there is one thing we can take with us. Our investment in people. Those relationships built on love. People often ask me how do I picture heaven. Well, I see it as God gathering all the people who have ever loved, in one great place or state. We arrive there and search for each other by name and find each other again. I won't make it to Fairyhouse today to put on a bet with the bookies. I have no dead certs. Indeed when I ever have picked a horse I've done it by sticking a pin in the paper. But what I have put my shirt on is the promise of Jesus at Easter. His resurrection assures me that there is life beyond what I experience now in this world. That he has gone to prepare a place for me in that gathering place of all who have ever loved. Love does not come to an end. And neither do those who have loved. That is why I believe in God and invest in people.
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