By Fr. Tim Knepper, C.PP.S.
Growing up, I would visit my Grandma Knepper during the summer and sometimes mow her lawn. While taking breaks, she would make lemonade and invite me in to sit down and chat with her about how my life was going or what was going on in her life. One time I sat down and noticed that she had a romance novel lying next to her. I was surprised because my grandmother was a learned woman who knew Latin, read Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and loved mysteries. Taken aback, I exclaimed, “Grandma, you’re reading those?!”
She gave me the Knepper look of disapproval and informed me that it was written by Barbara Cartland, who was a born-again Christian. The story was about a young woman who runs away from an abusive family and meets a widower with several children. The widower treats the young woman like a princess and they fall in pure love and get married. The story has a happy ending.
I said, “Still, it’s a romance novel!”
My grandmother said, “Tim, you’re missing the point. What matters is that she ran away from abuse and shame and ran towards grace and love. That’s what being a Christian is about.”
On this Easter Sunday, in the Gospel today, we see one of the disciples running toward an empty tomb. Contrast that with a scene from earlier during Holy Week when the disciples flee Jesus during his encounter with Judas and the Roman soldiers. Often it is our guilt and shame that keep us from running towards the Lord Jesus when we need him most.
God invites us to turn toward his grace and ask him for help on this day. We may not always have happy endings like romance novels, but the Lord promises us his everlasting love, especially in his body and Precious Blood of the Eucharist.
Fr. Tim Knepper, C.PP.S., is the parochial vicar of the Catholic Community of Northwest Dayton, which includes Precious Blood, St. Rita and St. Paul Parishes.