The Best Fairy Tale Ever
An Easter Sunrise Homily
Every good fairy tale begins with the words, “Once upon a time.” Once upon a time there was a princess … Once upon a time there was a king … Once upon a time there was there lived a couple …
Why do we love fairy tales? What makes them so enduring? Does it have something to do with our desire for romance and magic, our need to feel small and awed? Does it have something to do with an inner child within each of us that longs for there to be some mystery in our lives?
Every good fairy tale begins with the words, “Once upon a time,” and every good fairy tale goes on to tell an impossible story of the triumph of love. Along the way there was disappointments, there are dark days when it looks as if all hope is lost. But at the last moment, right on cue, the prince plants a kiss on the princess or the glass slipper fits or the ruby slippers transport you home. And in the end, “once upon a time” becomes “happily ever after.”
Once upon a time, a baby boy was born in a stable. His mom and dad didn’t have much, but they did have love. And love him they did. Though they moved around a lot, they ended up settling in a small town where the boy grew. He worked in his dad’s carpentry shop and everyone in the town just thought he was the kindest boy ever. And he was.
A long time passed, and the little boy grew into a man. And he was still the kindest man ever. He left the small town and traveled around the countryside telling people that they were loved and that they needed to love each other. He could also do spectacular miracles, wonders that made people “ooh” and “ah.” But because he was so kind, he never did tricks just for himself; he always tried to help other people. People loved him and listened to him and wished that he would be their king.
But not everyone loved him. There were some men who were jealous of the crowds that followed the man. So they devised a plan to stop him. One night they paid one of his friends a lot of money to tell them where he was. Then, they took soldiers with them and arrested him. They made up lies about him and convinced a king to sentence him to death.
The next morning they took the man to the top of a hill and killed him by nailing him to a cross. Everyone waited to see if he would do one of his spectacular miracles to save himself, but he didn’t. He died. And the sky got black in the middle of the day, like the sun was sad. And there was a big earthquake, like the ground was angry about how the kind man was killed. And his best friends just cried and cried.
And they hid. They were afraid that maybe the jealous men would try to kill them too. So they wouldn’t walk around on the streets of the city. They hid in a room with all the lights off and the doors locked for two days.
But some of the man’s friends, his sweet women friends, wanted to make sure that he was buried properly. So early one morning they went to where he was buried, in a cave in a garden. The jealous men hated the kind man so much that when his body had been buried in the cave two days before, they put a big stone in front of it and a soldier in front of the stone so that no one could get in. But when the sweet women got to the cave, the soldier was gone and the stone was too.
Instead, standing in front of the cave was a man all dressed in white. He said that the kind man was alive again, that he wasn’t dead any more and that very soon, he would come and talk to them more and tell them all about it. The women ran to tell the kind man’s best friends. And when they did it seemed like the sun had never shone brighter and the birds had never sung more delightfully. Of all of the beautiful mornings there have been on earth, this was the most beautiful morning of them all.
The kind man did come and see his best friends. He told them that he was going to be their king and that they would have to trust him. One day after that he went away but he said he would be back to bring his kingdom where everyone who loves him can live happily ever after.
Do you know the best part of this fairy tale? It’s true.