Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter 2017

He is Risen
He is Truly Risen,

As you know tonight all over the world the Church gathers around the Easter fire and the baptismal font to celebrate our new Easter Faith.

Tonight when we leave this Church we will have 9 new Catholics from this parish alone. There will be thousands of new Catholics all over the world.

They and everyone one who comes to our Faith at the Easter Vigil desires to model their lives on life and teaching of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ

By the prompting of the Holy Spirit they have come to believe that becoming a Catholic in this life is the best possible way for them to follow Jesus home to heaven in the next life.  

The example of those who have asked to become Catholic should inspire us all to re-commit ourselves to faith for the good of our own souls,
the souls of those we love.

Tonight when we reaffirm our baptismal promises let us resolve to follow the example of our new Brothers and Sisters by walking in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus more closely as we journey through life.

In today’s Gospel.

Both the Angel and Jesus told the women “Be not Afraid”

The guards were filled with fear at the sight of the Angel the Gospel says became like dead men, in other words they fainted. (not very manly)

Mary and Martha did not faint because they knew Jesus and trusted him.

While these words “Be not Afraid” seem simple and reassuring they are by no means easy to follow.

We live with so much fear in our lives.
We worry about what we have, what others have
And we are often afraid we will not get our fair share.

We worry about how we look and how people perceive us.

Much of our fear is expressed in an angry, bitter, and self righteous tone.
It’s hard to look all the anger, bitterness in the world and not be afraid

Our Easter Faith calls us to follow the example of Jesus who looked at anger and hate in the eye, and rather than fight it, or respond in kind, surrendered himself to it and even loved it.

The only way to overcome fear is to love the one who makes you afraid.

The second challenge that the risen Lord gave the women at the tomb was to go and tell the brothers.

Those simple words reveal to us that we should never keep the reason for our Easter hope to ourselves.     It has to be shared.
A faith which is not lived and shared, is a faith which has no power to save. It is like land which cannot bear fruit it is sterile and lifeless.

In today’s Gospel Jesus called the very men who abandoned him “my brothers”

I assure you the men who were hiding in the upper room certainly did not feel like brothers to Jesus.  
They were probably filled with guilt and remorse because they had abandoned him and ran away in fear.

Jesus chose those words carefully because with them he sought to reach out and heal their relationship.

By calling the Apostles Brothers
He let them know that they were forgiven,
he let them know that they he still loved them.  

Like Jesus we are called to forgive and be reconciled with those who hurt us not matter what they have done or how often they have done it.

Jesus didn’t wait for them to say I’m sorry, he took the first step and called them Brothers just the same.

Like Jesus forgave the disciple, and even the very people who condemned him to a horrible death.
We too are called to be messengers of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Remember what Jesus said from the cross while he was in agony. Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing.

That’s the way God forgives and he calls us to do the same. If we hold on to past hurts we are not following in the footsteps of our Lord.

When the Angel arrived he rolled away the stone.
He did not do so to let Jesus out, Jesus was already gone.

He rolled away the stone so that the women could enter into the mystery of the tomb and believe.

All of us need to roll away the stones of doubt, fear, anger, bitterness, and selfishness of any kind

These stones keep us from being authentic followers of our Risen Lord.

May we conquer fear with love

May be we be reconciled
with both God and man

And may we always be willing  to share the reason for our hope without counting the cost.

He is Risen
He is Truly Risen Amen

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