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Homily for Easter

 

 

 

 

What is Easter all about?

To answer that question, we need to go back to the beginning – to the First Book Book of Genesis. In Genesis, we read that God created the world good. God intended humanity to live with him in a communion of total peace, love and contentment.

This original state of grace was lost through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. This sin disrupted the communion with God and created total disharmony among human beings. God’s original plan for our lives was obscured by the darkness of sin. Humanity ended up in a fallen state from which it could not pull itself out. It could not rescue itself. Humanity needed something – or rather someone – else to save it.

In the fullness of time, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be that Savior. Christ rescued us from death itself, as well as from the forces of sin which wreck havoc in our lives and in the world. Through the sacrifice of his cross (the word “sacrifice” meaning “to make Holy” again), Jesus restored the right relationship between humanity and God the Father again. He opened the gates of heaven to us through his resurrection and ascension. Jesus now reigns eternally as Lord of heaven and earth with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus arms outstretchedMoreover, he sent his Holy Spirit into our hearts so that we can be formed as his mystical body in the communion of the Church. In the Church, Christ continues to speak his Word to us and to feed us with his very self (his body and blood) in the Eucharist.

Thus, the forces of sin and death no longer have the last word. For those who respond to what Jesus has done for us, and choose to accept God’s plan of salvation, Christians can share fully in the life of grace. They are then drawn deeply into an eternal communion of life and love with the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

But you have to choose. You have to acknowledge God’s call and choose to follow his plan.

What does that look life in the real world? It looks like the story of Jen.

Jen was an alcoholic at age 14. She had a dysfunctional relationship with her dad and used to share pain pills together. As she got older, she went through a series of abusive relationships with men. Jen said that she desperately wanted to be loved but she just couldn’t find the right kind of living constantly living as a homeless person.

She ended up with a DUI and lost her kids. At one point she was living with her 2 year old son in a van outside the home of her drug dealer. As Jen recounted, “If hell had a basement, I was living in it.”

At this point of her life, Jen was on 17 shelter lists. One night she got on her knees and prayed, ”Please God, put me in the shelter you want me in.”

God heard that prayer.

Jen found herself at Hope Place Shelter, a faith-based outreach of Union Gospel Mission in Seattle. There she was met with tremendous love and care.

The stated mission of GMS ”is to serve, rescue, and transform those in greatest need, simply through the grace of Jesus Christ.” One of the tools that GMS utilizes is an introduction to Christianity called “Alpha.” The women who were ministering to Jen’s needs offered her the opportunity to explore her questions about life, about faith and about God at Alpha. Jen answered, “I might as well try it. I’ve tried everything else which hasn’t worked.” And Jen really wanted whatever it was that these women had.

At one point, she attended the Alpha “Holy Spirit Weekend” where she “choose to accept God’s plan of salvation.” After that weekend, Jen’s life began to turn around. Not only is she a committed Christian today, Jen convinced both her mom and dad to try Alpha as well. They were eventually converted and are currently “table leaders” for the program in Seattle.

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet never sinned. Hebrews 4:14-15 

 Easter is about four kerygmatic themes:

  1. Community,
  2. Prayer,
  3. Eucharist,
  4. Scripture

They teach us goodness, discipline, and wisdom. These gifts keep us from becoming hardened by evil, weakened by laziness, or ignorant because of foolishness. But they don’t come automatically. God does not force them on you. Easter is about choosing. Jen choose.

You?

Audio version of the homily is here:

 

 

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