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A guy fell in a hole and couldn’t climb out. He heard someone and shouted for help.  “Send me down a rope.”  The passer-by said, “I am a physician, I don’t have a rope. I will give you want I have.” He threw down a prescription.  The guy in the hole said, “How is this going to get me out of the hole?” Another guy walked by and again he shouted for help. The guy above looked down the hole and said, “What can I do, I am a banker?”  He threw down his business card and said, “I can give you free checking at my bank.” The man in the hole wondered how free checking was going to help. Next, priest walked by. He had no rope, so he sent down a prayer. Finally, a friend walked by. The man said, “Am I glad to see you; send down a rope so I can get out.”  His friend said, “I don’t have a rope.” Then he jumped into the hole with his friend. The guy in the hole said, “What did you do that for? Now we are both stuck down here.” The friend said confidently, “I’ve been down here before. I know the way out.” Only one person can come to us after we die and say, “I’ve been down here before.  I know the way out.”

Have you ever stood on your own grave?  After my mother died, dad asked me if I would go with him to water flowers at the grave site. He told me that he installed a headstone. On the way, dad explained that he bought four graves, one for mom and himself, one for my brother and  me. When we arrived, I went to look at the headstone while dad went to get some water. While I was getting a look at the headstone, I realized that I was standing on my own grave. I can honestly say that when you stand on your own grave, you get thoughts; let me share some. I pictured the day they will lower me down into the grave. On that day, there will be friends, parishioners, and my community. I noticed that everyone had nice things to say, well wishes, a kind prayer and pleasant memories, all very much appreciated, but none gave me what I wanted: a rope. No one jumped into the grave with me and said, “I was here before, I know how to get out.” Except for one Person. I know someone who can say, “I am the resurrection and the life.” He can say, “I will come back and take you to Myself so that I am you also may be.” That Person can say, “I was here before, I know the way out.” Only one Person will be able to rescue me from the grave. We must never forget that!  Life can be difficult, and sometimes we get distracted, but we can never forget what Christ said: “Whoever believes in me will have eternal life.”

Jeremy was twelve years old. His body was twisted, his mind slow and his illness, terminal. But his parents wanted him to grow up as normal as possible and that meant attending a parochial school. He was the slowest one in the class. It was spring and Easter was approaching. The teacher passed out plastic eggs to each student and instructed them to return the egg the next day with something inside the egg that signified new life. The next day the basket on the teacher’s desk was full of the plastic eggs. She opened the first egg and there was a flower inside. “Class, this is an excellent example of new life.” A girl raised her hand and said with pride that it was her egg. The second egg had a rock covered with moss. The teacher also praised this expression of new life. This time a boy raised his hand and said that his dad helped him.  She picked up another egg and opened it.  There was nothing inside it. The teacher thought this must be Jeremy’s egg. He probably didn’t understand the assignment. Without drawing any attention to the mistake, she put the egg on the desk and reached for another egg. As she was doing this Jeremy said that it was his egg, “Aren’t you going to talk about it?” “Jeremy,” the teacher replied, “There was nothing inside your egg. It was empty.” Jeremy said, “That’s right, Jesus’ tomb was empty.”

Three months later Jeremy died. If you were to pay your respects at his grave, you were in for a surprise. On his tomb were eighteen plastic eggs…all empty. We must never forget that only one Person in our lives can say that “I am the resurrection and the life.”

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