April 16, 2017 Easter Sunday Fr Jim Miller

The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Day
April 16, 2017

Reading 1ACTS 10:34A, 37-43

Responsorial PsalmPS 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

  1. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

Reading 2COL 3:1-4

Or1 COR 5:6B-8

Sequence — Victimae Paschali Laudes

AlleluiaCF. 1 COR 5:7B-8A

GospelJN 20:1-9

Homily— April 15 & 16, 2017   Easter Sunday

            It is interesting that at Christmas most stores and restaurants close for the day, with only essential services remaining open.  At Easter, however, this is not true.  Few stores and other retail establishments close down.  Perhaps the reason for this is that it is easier to believe in and celebrate the birth of a baby than it is to believe in and celebrate risen Life.  Like the early disciples, we must see and come to believe.       

            What would have been your response if you had gone to the tomb with Mary of Magdala?   She thought that somebody had robbed the grave of his body.

When she told Simon Peter and John what she observed they ran to the tomb to see for themselves and John being the faster runner peaks in and sees the burial cloths.   Simon Peter went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths and noticed the cloth that had covered the head of Jesus rolled up and in a separate place.   It does not tell us what was the response of Simon Peter but it does say that John saw and believed despite the fact that the disciples did not yet understand the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.   If I had been there I would have been trying to make sense out of what had happened.   I would not have believed until the risen Jesus appeared to me with His glorified body with his wounds visible so that I knew it was Jesus.   John was so close to Jesus and so full of love that he just knew that Jesus was alive and that his body was not stolen or moved by someone else.

            Easter is a many-faceted festival.  It celebrates Jesus’ risen Life, but also celebrates our own share in it.  It celebrates Jesus’ love for all of humanity, but also celebrates our call to love as Jesus did.  It celebrates darkness giving way to light, death giving way to Life, sacrifice giving way to love.  We are the “disciple whom Jesus loved” who see the emptiness of what is not true and sinfulness and obstinacy of those who see but do not believe.  The goodness of our lives challenges others to see and believe, to see and love, to see and come to the Light.

            Pope Benedict XVI wrote “Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life which is a part of the person is indeed answered.  Through Jesus we do know ‘the room where exiled love lays down its victory.’  He himself is this place, and he calls us to be with him and in dependence on him.   He calls us to keep this place open within the world so that he, the exiled love, may reappear over and over in the world. . .  God exists:  that is the real message of Easter.

            Pope Francis writes, “We, like Peter and the women, cannot discover life by being sad, bereft of hope.  Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord—each of us knows what they are—so that he may enter and grant us life.  Let us give him the stones of our rancor and the boulders of our past, those heavy burdens of our weaknesses and falls.  Christ wants to come and take us by the hand to bring us out of our anguish.  This is the first stone to be moved aside this night:  the lack of hope which imprisons us within ourselves.  May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the center of our lives.

            We see and will continue to see problems both within and without.  They will always be there.  But today it is important to shed the light of the Risen Lord upon our problems, and, in a certain sense, to ‘evangelize’ them.  Let us not allow darkness and fear to distract us and control us; we must cry out to them:  the Lord is not here, but has risen!”

            I was looking for a couple of examples of Resurrection in the media and read an article in this Saturday’s Telegraph-Herald about three high school students from Senior High School who read about the shortage of food at St. Stephan’s Food Bank and decided to but a posting on social media of the need with the promise that they would pick up the food if they were given an address.   They made 35 stops.   For these young people taking on this commitment to feed the hungry is certainly a resurrection story.

            The second story I saw on TV where a 29 year old professional football player felt that something special was going to happen to him.  He died of a brain aneurysm but his heart went to Hall of Famer Rod Carew who played second base for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels.  He had been on the transplant list for about a year.   It turns out that 18 years earlier this then 11 year old boy came home from a baseball game all excited that he had met Rod Carew and now he wanted to become a professional athlete!   The one who made the day of a 11 year boy receives the heart of that now 29 year old man and has a new lease on life.

            Look for the stories of resurrection in your life and be a sign of God’s love and new life for others.

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