My concern is far more with empty souls and hearts then with an empty tomb. An empty soul sees a scam in religious faith and practice; an empty soul is dead to the life-giving Resurrection. Many there are in our country and in our world who live with souls empty and dead to the reality of the living God. For them, there is no ultimate goodness or truth, but only what they imagine, what they want, what they believe. Some of these empty souls are not fully empty. When you draw near to them, you smell something. It is not good, but smells of decay, deceit, death. These persons emit a stench. It is not the smell of sheep, but a sulfurous pit from the deadly hatred of the evil one. Draw near to all who hurt, but to those who reek of evil, stay away. They are poisonous, and infect many. The churches, too, have empty souls, and perhaps some who are not at all what they appear to be. Of them I say: stay away. “Those who do evil hate the light, and refuse to come to the light, lest their evil deeds be exposed.”
And then there are, sadly, empty churches. We live in a culture infiltrated by what Pope St. John-Paul called “a culture of death.” In such a society, with such a godless culture, we should not be surprised to see empty churches, or churches being closed because of lack of interest in “religion.” Many have turned their backs to God, and their hearts are indeed hollow, cavernous, empty tombs. Why should they bother worshiping God in Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant churches? They worship their god, their own selves, wherever they go. They do not know their emptiness.
Christ died to bring us to God. But each of us is still free to cooperate, to follow His lead and gentle pull, or to turn away; free to empty our souls of goodness, love, and life; to empty churches. As Moses says to the People: “I put before you this day death and life. Choose life, that you may live, and your descendants after you.”