08 April 2007

Alleluia! Do you know what is happening?

Easter Sunday 2007: Acts 10.34, 37-42; Col 3.1-4; John 20.1-9
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
Church of the Incarnation, Irving, TX

PODCAST!

This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad!

[Alleluia!]

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, his mercy endure forever!

[Alleluia!]

We shall not die, but live, to preach the Good News of the Lord!

[Alleluia!]

Lift your hands and give God thanks: We thank you, Father! For your Son, Christ Jesus. For his preaching and teaching. For his ministry and mission. For his life and suffering. For his ignoble death and glorious resurrection. For the Cross and the Tomb. Both empty this morning! For his Body and Blood. And for his Church. We celebrate this feast in spirit and in truth: hearts bursting with joy! minds soaring with faith! souls ringing with love! Thank You, Father. Thank You. Today, we witness to your fidelity. You have fulfilled your promise. Our Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

People of the Most High, you know what has happened! Our Lord, given to the crowd three days ago by Pilate; beaten bloody and spat upon; nailed to the cross and killed with a Roman lance; buried by his secret disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, in an stone-hewn tomb and left to rot…well, you know what has happened! Amen? But do you know what’s happening now? Do you know what the Spirit is working among us?

Luke reports in Acts that Peter reminds the gathered disciples that Jesus charged them all with preaching his gospel of mercy, testifying to the good works and words of Christ, and bearing witness to the promise “that everyone who believe in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” Amen? Paul writes to the Colossians: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above […] Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” Peter reminds us of our Christian duty to witness. Paul teaches us how we are to carry out that duty. And God has given us the gift we need to fulfill our baptismal promises to Him. He has given to us and for us Christ, our paschal sacrifice! So, let us celebrate the feast! Amen?

In this Easter feast, the Spirit moves to collect us, to pull us together, and bind us closer still; to fix us as parts to a Body, to wake us up to the gifts we have been given and to shock our hearts and minds with the wonder of what God is doing among us. If your eyes cannot see the paschal fire and your ears cannot hear the roaring of the Spirit, this feast, this celebration is meant to clear your vision, unstop your ears, and open your soul to receive the graces of Christ’s resurrection. You live with him. You die with him. You rise with him. And now you live with him again in a glory brighter than the sun. Do you know what is happening now? Life touches death and death is now dead. All that remains is life…and that most abundantly! Amen?

Christ took on human flesh and bone, became one of us to move among us as a man, and to die as one of us. He took on flesh and bone so that in his suffering, death, and resurrection, he could heal all flesh, all bone. He suffered b/c we suffer. He was tempted b/c we are tempted. He was persecuted and mocked b/c we are often persecuted and mocked. He took the cup and drank from it knowing what it meant, knowing that he drank the cup of the suffering servant, the one who is wounded for us, and dies horribly for our sins. And for his sacrifice for us we offer him…what? Gratitude? Yes, of course. Regret? Maybe. Denial? Let’s hope not! Rejection? All the time.

But what we must offer him now is the sacrifice most pleasing to God: our hearts and minds turned to Him in heaven; your life—body and soul—changed, converted, turned around into a life lived swallowed in the blessings of Christ and lived to give Him thanks and praise. You died with him. You will rise with him. So now, live with him and do as he charges: preach, testify, witness. Attached as one part to his Body, use your gifts in service to others and His love will be perfected in you, made whole and holy for you. Deny your gifts. Waste them selfishly. And you exercise that which will not be raised: your shadowed desires, your dark longings, your attachments to earth.

You know what has happened? Amen? But do you know what the Spirit is working among us? By the resurrection of Christ from the tomb, our Father lifts us up, brings us along into a newness of life, a fresh beginning to living, and a clarity of vision and task. Whatever despair haunts your days and nights—order it gone in the name of the Risen Lord! Whatever poverty of trust depletes your gratitude—order it gone in the name of the Risen Lord! Whatever grief, despondency, deprivation, illusion, or gluttony; whatever lust for control, greed for attention, jealousy of others’ gifts, or hunger for revenge; whatever is dark, clouded, murky, muddied, or weak in your life with Christ—remember: He is Risen! And you with him! This is your new being, your new life, your new hope for perfect freedom in God’s service.

For forty days we slogged through a Lenten desert, dropping bad habits like snakes along the way. Look behind you. What do you see roasting in the sand? What do you drop? What fell off? What did you pick up again? This trip through death and new life requires that we travel light. Grasping beyond our reach leaves us empty-handed and hungry for more. Contemplating the things of this world clouds your hopeful mind with images and ideas too fleeting to purchase with your everliving soul. If you have died in Christ, you must live in this world still but it must not still live in you. What shines like gold to eyes focused on compromise with the world should burn through your lids and terrify you. Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross as a criminal so that his brothers and sisters might turn again to the culture of death that executed him and party with his betrayers. He did not suffer and die on the cross and empty his tomb so we who profess his faith and preach his Word might prostitute ourselves again in the temples along the idolatrous way—the temples of materialist science, realpolitick, media fantasy, intoxicating violence, consumer power, and the terrorism of false messiahs: megalomaniac politicians and preachers, perverse actors and activists, and perhaps worst of all—a logic of social inclusivity so inclusive that it demands we make love to fascism and give birth to the concentration camp…again.

Think of what is above! And move your resurrected hearts and minds away from the practice of compromising the faith so that you may be included among the compromisers; move away from the practice to “framing” your faith with the fickle demands of culture, politics, identity, desire, novelty, and good manners; move away from the sorry practice of saying sorry for believing in the Word Made Flesh and Resurrected. Think of what is above! And thank God for His goodness in bringing you to Him through Christ.

You know what has happened. Amen? And now you know what is happening? Amen? Run then from the Empty Tomb screaming your head off: He is Risen! The tomb is empty! He is Risen! He was dead but now he lives.

(Stand)

This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad!

[Alleluia!]

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, his mercy endure forever!

[Alleluia!]

We shall not die, but live, to preach the Good News of the Lord!

[Alleluia!]

2 comments:

  1. Great homily, Father! He is Risen indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, I'm not on your blogroll!

    God bless,

    Tito

    ReplyDelete