A veteran of World War II, blind and paralyzed, lay on his bed at the Veterans' Hospital. He had been bedridden for many decades. He was often sad and lonely, without many visitors. One day he got a new roommate. Unlike the grouches who had come and gone before, the new man seemed to him to be joyful and friendly. So the old veteran asked the new man, whose bed was by the room's only window, to tell him what was going on outside. The man responded with gusto, describing the flowers blossoming, the birds hopping along the grass and darting from tree to tree, the postman making his rounds, the children riding their bikes, and much more.
This soon became a daily ritual, the man by the window helping the old veteran connect with the wonderful world outside. The old veteran no longer felt as sad and lonely as he had before. But after a few months, the man by the window died. His bed was taken by yet another, much younger man. With some anxiety, the old veteran asked the younger vet to tell him what was going on in the world outside the window of their hospital room. The new man looked out the window, paused a few seconds, and matter-of-factually replied, “I don't know what good it'll do. There's nothing outside this window but a brick wall!”
Nothing there! Nothing but a brick wall! That's the fear that eventually haunts every human heart: the fear that we're boxed in by the windowless walls of our own mortality: we're born, we live, we die – there's no escape. Yes, that's our fear, but it's not the truth of the matter. And somehow, that happy veteran by the window knew that in his heart. His heart told him there's more to life than he could see. He saw right through the brick wall of his own mortality to the reality of this morning's Gospel: through suffering and death to resurrection and abundant life with an All-Loving God!
Our hearts are whispering the same reality to us. Our lives are worth much more than we can see, hear and sense through our mortal bodies. We are not made for nothingness. We are made for abundance. We are not made to die. We are made to live!
In today's Gospel God speaks to us not in a whisper but out loud, not in words but in mighty deeds. God has raised Jesus from the dead. We are to rise as Jesus arose. Trust God to be true to God's own word. Abundant life is not the illusion. The brick wall is!
A blessed Easter to each of you! Amen!