Bishop Kemme: the empty tomb brings color into our world

Bishop Carl A. Kemme lights the Cathedral’s Paschal candle. (Advance photo)

Bishop Carl A. Kemme reflected on his life as a youth on the farm at the Easter Vigil and how travel was limited because of the family’s connection to the land.

“Of all the many life-changing experiences I have had…the one that stands out as the greatest, hands down, is to have been honored to visit and celebrate the Mass in the tomb, His tomb, the tomb of Jesus,” he said from his cathedra.

“It is undeniably the greatest holy place in the world,” he said. “Jesus of Nazareth changed the course of world history by changing the course of human destiny. This is the faith of Easter and that is why we are here tonight because we choose to believe and to rejoice that he who once was dead now lives forever.”

Paschal Mystery determined Bishop’s life

Bishop Kemme said his belief in the Paschal Mystery has determined the trajectory of his life, how he serves, and what he values.

“The values of the world often challenge this faith, but in the end, thanks only to God, my faith returns. I know millions and millions of others down through the centuries have also chosen to believe this and countless more until the end of time will do the same. I believe that I am in good company, to be among those who believe that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.”

Catholics profess that belief – the bedrock of our lives –at every Sunday Mass, Bishop Kemme said.

“It is the lens through which we must see ourselves, each other, and this passing world. The empty tomb is the prism that brings color and brilliance to a world that because of sin, suffering and death is often cast in shadows,” he said.

Empty tomb is what really matters

“It is that which defines us and our relationships. It is that which provides answers to the problems and questions of life that seemingly have no answer. It is the foundation of our ultimate hope and confidence in God. In short, the empty tomb is the only thing that truly matters.”

Many choose not to believe for whatever reason, the bishop said, adding that they are to be prayed for and pitied. “There are many of them in the world today, given the rise of atheism and agnosticism that is so prevalent in our times. For them, the resurrection is an impossibility or it is a silly, even laughable concept, which they say has been concocted by simpletons or religious fanatics.”

Secular rationalism, he added, with its rejection of supernatural faith proposes that it is only what can be seen, what can be verified, what can be scientifically proven that is worthy of any attention or adherence. “What a cold and colorless way to live your life!” he said.

“I choose to believe and will do so until the day my eyes close to this world and open my eyes to eternal life, a life that is promised to those who choose to believe, which has its origin in an empty tomb, our Lord’s, but also our own, for one day, your tomb and mine will also be empty, empty because this mortal body of ours will be like his, raised in glory and we will once again be with God in paradise. I choose to believe this with all my heart and in this, I have no doubts.”