April 15, 2018

A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER  – CYCLE “B” –  4/15/18  –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!   Peace and goodness to you this day!

There’s a little stress in our world today.  There are a few things to be worried about, and to keep in our prayers.  First of all, the whole world is concerned about what is going on in Syria, where, apparently, the Syrian government has once again used poison gas on its own people, including children.  The West is once again outraged, but few want to do anything about it.  The U.S. would like to start bombing Syria for its murderous actions against its own people, but Russia says that if we do, there will be serious retaliations.  Not a good situation.  This is the way that the world wars start.  Then, of course, there’s also our relationship with North Korea.  Kim Jong Un hasn’t gotten any saner in recent months.  So there’s still plenty to be concerned about there in North Korea.  And now we are in a trade war with China, that seems to indicate that a lot of things are going to start costing a lot more.  And that’s just what we need when so many of our favorite restaurants and stores are already closing, in many cases thanks to on-line shopping.  These are challenging days in the world that we live in.  Then, remember, it was just two weeks ago, on Easter weekend, when that Chinese space station was going to crash to earth, and they weren’t sure where it was going to land.  How about that hanging over our heads?  Nothing says Happy Easter quite like a space station landing on your head!

These are wild days, aren’t they?  If we didn’t have Faith, if we didn’t believe in something must bigger and much more powerful going on, we might be afraid!  But we do have Jesus.  And Jesus’ message to the Apostles and everybody that He has come in contact with, in these Resurrection appearances these last three weeks, has had one, consistent theme: “Do NOT be Afraid!”  Jesus says it over and over, every time He appears to someone after He has risen from the dead.  We even hear it in our Gospel today!

Today, the Apostles that Jesus had met on the Road to Emmaus, have returned back to Jerusalem, to that same upper room, and where the Apostles are all together, but still hiding, still scared for their own lives.  And once again, for how many times now, Jesus greets them with Peace.  “Peace be with you!” He says.  He is reassuring them they are seeing victory, not defeat, and that He is truly risen from the dead! This is not a ghost or a vision that they are seeing.  They are not hallucinating!  He eats with them, and then again gives them a detailed accounting of how all the prophesies from the Old Testament have been fulfilled!   Then Jesus commands them to get out into the world, and to take the message out to others.  They are to be witnesses of His story, His resurrection, to the rest of the world.  It’s time for the Apostles and the whole Church to go to work, but the Apostles and the Church are still scared.  They need Jesus’ peace.  They need His healing and His strength!  They need the Holy Spirit.  What are they still doing locked in that upper room?  They need some fresh air and a fresh new perspective on what Jesus’ resurrection means.  We see this in our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

Now, the Acts of the Apostles is a little later on, after the Holy Spirit has already fired up the Apostles, but in our first reading Peter has become a real witness!  He is no longer hiding himself in a locked room.  Now, his fear has been replaced by real faith in the resurrection.  Now St. Peter stands publicly as the real rock of Christ’s Church, challenging his listeners to repent, and inviting them to be baptized and share in Christ victory!  The Good News wasn’t just for two-thousand years ago, the Good News is just as much for us today!

It doesn’t matter what’s going on in our world.  Our world is always going to be a mess.  It was two-thousand years ago, and it is today, and it is going to be in the future.  Our world is NOT a peaceful place.  However, the promise that Jesus makes to all of us today is, that we can have peace in the middle of it all, on the inside, in our hearts and souls, and that that peace is what’s going to get us through this world, and safely home to Heaven!

Jesus’ way works!  We can have peace no matter what!  And it is that peace that we most need to bear witness to, with our lives!  For those of us who lean on the Cross of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection becomes an anchor that preserves our hope in even the worst of times!  Even, and especially, when we are most afraid, or in distress, or even in the darkest days of our lives, we can have His Peace!  And isn’t this one of the greatest blessings of the Sacraments?  In our encounters with Jesus in His Sacraments, Jesus takes away our fears.  He gives us courage.  He reinforces our Faith!  In the Eucharist, in Reconciliation, in our Baptisms, and Confirmations, in the Anointing of the Sick, and even in Holy Orders and Marriage.  God is at work strengthening His people, His Church.  Just like He did on the Road to Emmaus and in the Upper Room.  God doesn’t want any of us to be afraid.  He has conquered all our fears.  Now, as the new Disciples, let us go and witness to the Good News of what our God has done for all of us!  Now we must tell others of what He can do for them and how He can conquer their fears.  That’s the way that this Faith spreads.  And we must do our part, even in 2018, to make that happen!

+  God bless us this Easter season,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                 AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…     Pray for us !!!