April 21, 2019

A HOMILY FOR EASTER – THE FEAST OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD –   CYCLE “C” –  4/21/19

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

It is good to be here tonight!

This past Monday, between 1 and 2 PM, I received over two dozen texts and voicemail messages from friends all over the world telling me about the fire at Notre Dame in Paris.  That doesn’t count the seven notifications that I received from different news apps.  The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, with its over 850 year history, and its relics, and its art and gothic architecture, was burning.  And the whole world was watching.  It was right there before our eyes, on the TV and the internet.  There was a certain sadness that went with the news.  I think especially for the millions who had visited the Cathedral before last Monday.  Notre Dame was one of the greatest cathedrals that we have in the Catholic Church.   There is SO much history connected to that building.  It had survived so many other threats.  It was the beginning of Holy Week.  There are the obvious questions about what caused the fire, especially since it was Paris. And yet, there we were, watching on our phones, as part of our history as Church, went up in smoke.

Now, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor for some, and the assassination of President Kennedy for others, and the space shuttle Challenger disaster, and certainly the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, anytime something big happens, somebody has to tell you the news.  It’s changed a lot over the years.  Think of how people found out about Pearl Harbor on a Sunday morning, in 1941.  And then think of how you found out about the fire at Notre Dame in Paris last Monday?  But whether it’s the radio or twitter, the newspaper or Facebook, or your best friend or your spouse or your boss.  Somebody or someone told you the news.  Someone brought you into the story.  And my guess is, that next, you passed the story, the news, on to somebody else.  It’s the way it works.  Who’d you tell about the fire at Notre Dame?

I mention all of this to you today because the telling of the story of Jesus’ resurrection is an absolutely essential part of the story.  Mary Magdalene, the women who went to anoint Jesus’ body, Peter and John, and the other Apostles, are all the first to know.  But who found out first?  And who told who? And exactly where was this astonishing news about Jesus coming from, these were some of the most important parts of the story, on that first Easter.   God has done something truly amazing in that tomb just outside of Jerusalem.  Jesus body was gone.  The stone was moved away.  There were visions of angels who said that He had been raised from the dead.  The Roman soldiers who were supposed to be there to make sure that this didn’t happen, ran away.  This is amazing stuff!  Even two thousand years later!  My brothers and sisters, even this Easter, we have to admit that this is a shocking story!  This is news!  This is life-changing news.  This is bigger than a fire in a famous church, or the assassination of a president, or any terrorist attack.  This is bigger, because if that tomb really was empty, and Jesus really is risen from the dead, then the ramifications of that fact changes all those other stories and every other life in the past two-thousand years, including ours!

II

 

The questions that I ask you today, is, who told you the story of Jesus’ resurrection?  I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t twitter or CNN.   Was it your parents?  Or maybe your grandparents?  What it a teacher, or godparent, or a priest or sister?  At some point, somebody had to teach each and every one of us about Jesus and about His Resurrection.  Someone shared that life-changing news with us.   And maybe we thought it was a nice story at first, or maybe from the beginning, the fact that Jesus rose from the dead changed our life forever, the reality is that we are here today because someone told us the news, and at some point, we got it.   We believed it.  And we are forever grateful to them for sharing the faith with us!

This telling of the news, as Christians we call it “evangelization”, is absolutely essential to the story.  Two-thousand years ago, the story was entrusted to Peter, and John and Mary Magdalene, and Thomas, and all of them.  Today that same story of Jesus’ resurrection is entrusted to us!  Today we must take this story out and make sure that everybody knows it!  That tomb was empty!  His Body has never been found.  EVER!  And God did change everything on that first Easter two thousand years ago!  That’s news.  And we’ve got a world that is desperate to hear that news, today, this week, as soon as possible.

And so we leave this church today with a job, a mission.  We must let others know what has happened in that empty tomb!  And I’m not just talking about tomorrow.  Tomorrow is easy.  We’ll be with family and friends, and we’ll eat delicious foods, and hunt for chocolate eggs.  But what about Monday?  And what about next week?  And what about this coming year?  And what about next year?  Who are you telling about Jesus’ resurrection?  What are you doing to continue the story?  We need to tell the story of Jesus’ resurrection with our lives.  St. Francis was right, we should only use words when necessary.  But make no mistake about it, now is our time to tell others and to get the message right.

To our new brothers and sisters who join us at this Easter Vigil tonight, we are most excited about your Baptisms, and being received into the Catholic Church, and your Confirmations.  Your decisions tonight empower and re-inforce our Faith and our Church, in the mission of telling the news of the Resurrection.  We are most proud of you.  And we love you very much.  You join an army of Faithful who put our trust in that empty tomb.  And who are committed to keep telling the story and faithfully passing on the good news!  Your addition to our number has made a big difference here at St. Maria Goretti.  Tonight, we celebrate all of those who have joined us over the years at the Easter Vigil.  If you have joined the Church at past Easter Vigils could you please stand?    My new brothers and sisters, we welcome you tonight, into that number!

We have very important news to share.  And, we have a responsibility to do it, and to do it faithfully, with zeal and with love and compassion.  It is quite the job.   May we tell everyone the good news!

III

 

Have a great Easter!  From Fr. Mike, Fr. Derek, and myself, and Deacon Steve and Deacon Will, and Liam and Brian and our entire Parish and School staffs, may you have a blessed Easter and one that you want to share with others, as much as possible!

+  God bless you,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                                   AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…           Pray for us !!!