The 3rd Sunday of Easter- The Homily
Isn’t it interesting that, right in the middle of this season of Easter joy, the church focuses our attention on the suffering of the Messiah? The prophets announced long ago that God’s Messiah would suffer. “It is written that the messiah must suffer.” So, Christ had to suffer.
This seems relevant to many parishioners to whom I have spoken. Numerous people have mentioned the number of things that have gone wrong in recent weeks (sicknesses, car accidents, items being lost, issues at work, etc..) For them, Lent just doesn’t seem to be over yet.
Why is that? What’s going on?
- In some cases it has to do with Mystagogia – that period of time after the Easter Vigil when the church members accompany those recently received in the church – the neophytes – who are spiritually and emotionally vulnerable and are targets for Satan.
- In some cases it has to do with people who DIDN’T take Lent seriously and perhaps there is still some spiritual work to do.
- In some cases it has to do with people who did take Lent seriously and there is a residual effect is the discipline.
- In some cases it has to do with people who are taking Easter seriously, just like the Disciples, which leads us to the next point….
When Jesus appeared in the midst of the disciples, he said, “Peace be with you.” But why? Why did Jesus say, “Peace be with you”? Consider the emotional atmosphere in the group at that time. Disoriented, discouraged, angry, fearful, tired, weary … like people who still seem to be experiencing Lent this Easter Season.
- Are there times in your life when you are distraught and you need some peace?
- Does it help you that Jesus has experienced trials like yours?
- Did God take our flesh because he needed to do so, or because it was us who needed him to?
So how do we deal with this? The Eucharist is the key to understanding – and addressing – this “season.” Christ’s sacrifice is our sustenance on life’s journey. By it we are nourished and supported along our road of life. Christ’s sacrifice is the basis of our relationship with him. We don’t “reach up” to find him – he came down to reach us.
The people who received Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation this Easter didn’t “join an institution.” They entered into a relationship with Jesus. Jesus did not come to earth to make you religious; Jesus came to earth so that you may LIVE.
For this reason he addressed these words to us: Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will not have life. “‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.”
Saint Gaudentius was the Bishop of Brescia, which is located in northern Italy. He lived around the year 400. He once wrote a sermon where he said, “When men receive Christ in the Eucharist with believing hearts, it is like large and voluminous wine-skins, it ferments within them by its own power.
As we read in John 6:28, once, when perplexed, people asked Jesus “What are we supposed to do?” Think about which people around you are still going through Lent.
Pray for those who are struggling.
Ask someone whom you sense is going through a rough time, “How are you doing? Can I help?”
Go to Confession – again. If not for yourself, do it for the community.
- Resurrection didn’t just happen 2,000 years ago.
- Resurrection didn’t just stop at Easter this year.
- Pray for these people; reach out to them.
And you will see the fulfillment of Acts 3:15 – God will raise them from the dead; and YOU will be witnesses.
Audio version of the homily is here: