I remember bits and pieces of when we were just little, before we were even in kindergarten, and my mom had made tacos–it was perfect. The table was set, my mom had done such a beautiful job, tortillas, beans, hamburger, onions, tomatoes…but my dad came home drunk and angry, which was not uncommon. I remember him taking the beans, dumping them on my mom’s head and flipping over the table–all of my mom’s hard work wasted on the floor. Immediately, with tears in her eyes, my mom began picking up the pieces, starting over, making it good again. And, can you believe, that all these years later, there’s still nothing my mom and our family loves more than Tina’s tacos. My brothers and sisters, listen to me, sin and violence does not have the last word, love does, God does.
God created us in the divine image; “male and female he created them.” And he blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’” What a beautiful plan, what an amazing start…what love God had for his creation, what confidence he had in their potential. He gave them everything, put them in charge of everything, and loved them above all else, but they did love him back. They flipped the table, it came crashing down, and they were lost…we were lost.
In the garden with Adam and Eve, when Cain killed his brother, Abel, with Noah and the flood, and again with the tower of Babel, we are a sinful, arrogant, violent, selfish, impatient, and unloving people–and we cause sadness and suffering. We dump beans on people’s heads and flip over tables and create brokenness. In this way, in this sinful condition, there is no way to be saved.
But God did not want us lost. He did not want us without his love, and so even as that first sin took place, God had already begun a way to save his children–not with what they could do (he already tried that), but with what he would do. We call that Salvation History; beginning with the call of Abraham, then Isaac, and Jacob, with Moses who led God’s people to freedom from slavery, to Kings David and Solomon, to Isaiah the Prophet, through whom the Lord siad, “My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”
Jesus is that word that came forth, and the salvation of unworthy, broken souls like yours and mine, is the end for which it was sent. With Mary’s obedience who said, “Let it be done to me according to your will,” and Jesus’ obedience to his fathers will, who said, “Not my will, but yours be done.” It was Jesus’ obedience, even to death on a cross, that paid the price for our disobedience in the garden, and our disobedience even still.
But death could not hold him! No sir! Death will not have the last word. Death has no power over life! Darkness has no power over light! And he is risen! Our Lord is truly risen! Alleluia, he is risen! Not just for his sake, but for ours, who believe and enter into the waters of Baptism. Somehow, through Jesus’ obedience, we who though disobedient, can still achieve the righteousness of God and hope in salvation. All of human history unfolded to this very moment that we celebrate tonight, Jesus conquered the grave and brought life to all who believe. As the angel said, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised.” Pope Francis said, “The whole of salvation history is the story of God looking for us: he offers us love and welcomes us with tenderness.” Tonight we not only celebrate Jesus’ rising, we celebrate our rising too, and we also celebrate the elect, who enter into baptism, and candidates whose baptism is brought to completion in Confirmation. God still looks for us, offers us love and welcomes us with tenderness. Love and life still conquers sin and death. Believe that. Tina’s tacos are the proof.