A newly-ordained priest was visiting one of his parishioners who was in the hospital. The priest was a young man, fresh out of seminary and still wet behind the ears. He was visiting an elderly man named Joe, who was extremely ill.
Joe wanted to talk to the priest about his funeral service and the priest wanted to talk about anything else – the weather, baseball, politics, or anything else he could think of.
Finally, the priest asked, “Joe, doesn’t it bother you? Aren’t you frightened?” Joe smiled and said, “Father, I know I’m not going to make it, but I’m not afraid. I have a confession to make. I’ve taken a peek at the back of the book.”
“What do you mean?” the young priest asked.
“You didn’t know me 10 years ago when I had my first heart attack,” Joe replied. “They called it cardiac arrest. I can remember the medical team thinking I was a goner. I can also remember the tremendous feeling of being surrounded by the warmth of God’s love.
“I was revived by the doctors, but ever since that day I have been unafraid to die. I’ve been there. It doesn’t frighten me. I know that one day soon I am going to go to sleep and I believe that when I wake up, I will, once again, be surrounded by God’s love. I will wake up in the arms of the Lord. And it will be forever!”
This is the message of the first Easter and of every Easter since then.
The tomb is empty! Christ is risen!
Jesus is alive! And because of this we will wake up someday in the arms of the Lord!