A HOMILY FOR EASTER SUNDAY – CYCLE “A” – APRIL 20TH, 2014 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you on this Easter morning!
Wow! Everything is so beautiful today. The weather is great. Finally, Winter might really be over – maybe. Everybody looks great. There are a lot of new clothes out there this morning. You guys all look like you came straight out of an Old Navy commercial. Anybody got new shoes on? When I was a kid, that’s what I remember most about Easter. My feet hurt. Then there are the flowers, the Sanctuary looks and smells like a garden. It is beautiful up here. The Baptismal Font has been all refurbished and polished up, and filled brand new holy water. Everything looks, and smells, and feels good this morning, and is beautiful.
And yet, we know that things were very different at that first Easter. First of all, it didn’t take place in a church, it took place in a graveyard, a cemetery. And there weren’t any eggs, or bunnies, or chocolate. There was an empty grave. In fact, for as beautiful as our celebration today is, the reality is that the first Easter was really kinda ugly! And it was God Who made it beautiful, not Target or Wal-Mart.
Down South, they like to talk about anything that is unpleasant, as being “ugly”. I have a great friend of mine from Louisiana who says this all the time. For example, if you wake up and you’re grumpy, you are in an ugly mood. He will even say, don’t be so ugly. And if you’re having breakfast, and your eggs are runny, then they would say that you have ugly eggs. Down South, if you say something that is insulting to someone, then you’re being ugly. For all the beauty that we have all around us today, we cannot forget that Easter comes out of some real ugliness. It comes out of the Cross.
Now, as we come here today, the truth is that we know a great deal about ugliness and crosses. The truth is that this Spring, our world has been a particularly ugly place. We’ve had a long brutal, record-setting Winter that has taken its toll on all of us. We’ve watched as violence has seemed to take over the City of Indianapolis this Spring. We’ve seen the shooting for the second time at Ft. Hood , Texas, and the knife attack at that high school in Pennsylvania, and the shootings just last week at the Jewish Center in Kansas City. Then of course, the whole world continues to mourn the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, with 239 people on board, and we can’t even find them. Our world has been a very ugly place lately. We know how Jesus’ followers must have felt when they woke up on that first Easter morning.
And yet, just as God changed everything with that empty tomb two-thousand years ago, so too again He changes everything today for us. Where there was despair, God brings hope. Where there was death, God restores life. Where there was ugliness, God brings beauty. Where things looked like they were all over, God brings a new beginning! We can have a beautiful celebration today, even in the middle of an ugly, dying world, because God has a better plan, a better way. And God changes it all. He even changes us, if we let Him. There is always Resurrection. No matter what we’ve done, no matter where we’ve been, no matter how big of a mess we have make of things, God, our God, restores beauty, and life, and love. *
And we’re NOT naïve either. We know the problems of the world. We know all too well about messes and crosses. But our God is more powerful than that. And do you want proof of that? This day we point to the empty tomb. The rock was rolled away, the body was gone, and the wrappings were lying there on the floor. God answers our ugliness with His beauty, and everything is changed again.
This is a beautiful day to rejoice and celebrate! Not because of the weather, and not because of the spiral sliced ham, and not because of a rabbit. This is a beautiful day because God has made it so! We have more to be excited and hopeful for, than ever. Let us live the Christian life! And may we never lose the beauty of what God done for us!
From all of us here at St. Maria Goretti… Have a Blessed and Happy Easter!
+God bless you today on this greatest Feast Day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
+St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!