Mar 25, 2008

Homily for Easter Sunday: Given at Cronulla 2008

Readings: Acts 10:34,37-43, Col 3:1-4, John 20:1-9


On behalf of Fr Thomas, Fr Witold, and all the parish team here at Cronulla, I wish you all a very Happy and Holy Easter.


For almost two months now the Church has been preparing to celebrate the great Paschal Feast. Over the last three days we have gathered as a community for three very significant services, which are in fact one very long service, with breaks in between.


On Holy Thursday, we gathered and entered into Christ’s example of service and love. Christ washed the apostles feet as an example to us to serve each other. Then we prayed with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prepared for suffer. We heard the words of Christ: “Stay here and keep watch with me.”


On Good Friday, we entered into Christ’s passion and death. We stood with Mary as Christ was carried to Calvary. We saw Jesus crucified for the sins and offences of humanity. Humanity broke relationship with God, and God became man to restore humanity to God. God humbled himself to become a human being, so that human beings can become as gods. God took our place and died for our sins, so that each of us can live.


Last night we celebrated the greatest of Vigils known in heaven and on earth. It began with a fire and candlelight procession. Each of us received the light of Christ, so that we can become shining lights to our dark and dangerous world.


We then sang the praises of God throughout history and we read about the ways God has nurtured humanity through creation, through blessings, through calling us back to relationship with Him.


And then we heard about how Christ rose from dead and how many believed in Christ and eternal life.

Last night, 3 adults were received into the Catholic Church and 3 children were baptized. Our community made a solemn profession of our faith – we recommitted ourselves to Jesus Christ and to the way of the fullness of life. We then entered into the great act of heaven, where heaven and earth are united as one, where time stands still and where we become present to the great events of our salvation.

The angels and saints were present with us in our great act of worship of our loving God. Simultaneously, we were present at the Lord’s Supper, at Calvary with our Mother Mary, at the entombment, and at Christ’s resurrection and glorification.


My friends, for almost 2000 years Christians have gathered every Sunday to celebrate the joy of Easter, the joy of what God has done for us and the joy that we await at our own deaths and resurrections. Christians gather every week to enter into the events of Holy Week – to become mystically present at the Last Supper, at the Way of the Cross and the Crucifixion, and to be spiritually present at Christ’s resurrection. Christians have eaten the broken body of Christ, so that we are feed spiritually on our journey to eternal life.


My friends, as the opening prayer for today’s Mass beautifully said:

“This is the morning on which the Lord appeared to men who had begun to lose hope and opened their eyes to what the scriptures foretold: that first he must die, and then he would rise and ascend into his Father’s glorious presence.

May the risen Lord breathe on our minds and open our eyes that we may know him in the breaking of bread, and follow him in his risen life.


Very shortly we will enter into the great act of praise and worship of God. We will be simultaneously present at the Lord’s Supper, at the events of Good Friday, and at the resurrection of Christ.

Pray, my friends, that our eyes will be opened. That we will be given strength to believe what is occurring, to be attentive to the mysteries. Ask the Lord to open our eyes to see and to not lose hope. Christ, our God, our Lord and Saviour, is broken for us and given to us in the appearance of bread. The bread is truly Jesus – Jesus at the Last Supper, Jesus at the crucifixion, and Jesus at the resurrection. This altar is 3 things – it is the mystical table of the Last Supper, it is Calvary – the place of Christ’s death, and it is the tomb that held the body of the Creator. 


My friends, we pick up a phone and we can communicate with someone on the other side of the world.

When we come to Mass, we enter into prayer, celebration, sacrifice and thanksgiving, and our whole body, mind and spirit communicates with heaven.

It is often said that Catholics are Easter people. But we are more than a people who simply celebrate an important historical event from almost 2000 years ago.

As Catholics we celebrate our entry into eternal life and we become mystically and spiritually present at the historical events of Easter. During today’s Mass, enter into the prayer – use your imagination to place yourself at one of the events of Holy Week. Be in the garden as Mary Magdalene, Peter and John come running.


Jesus said that he is the way, the truth and the life. Those who believe in Jesus and live his ways will live for ever. In the early Church, the Liturgy of the Eucharist was only open to those who believe and those who publicly live their life in Christ. The readings from Scripture, the Liturgy of the Word, was open to all people, but to become mystically present at the events of Easter is a special and honoured thing and was reserved to those who are ready.


My friends, do each of us believe in Jesus Christ?

Do each of us have a relationship with our God and with the community that Jesus founded?

Do each of us live the ways of God, the ways of truth and life?

Do each of us live for eternal life or are we focussed on ourselves, on our property or our power?


St Paul in today’s 2nd reading said beautifully: “Let your thought be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth… The life you have now is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.” (Col 3:3-4)


My friends, let us live in the expectation and hope of the glory of God – each of us will have a seat at God’s table if we choose to be there. Let us be mindful of what God has done for us – let us live as people who are alive – alive with the joy and love of God. This means that we are not supposed to lie buried in the tomb of our evil habits.  Christ’s resurrection gives us the good news that no tomb can hold us down anymore - neither the tomb of despair, discouragement, doubt nor death.  Instead, we are expected to live a joyful and peaceful life, constantly experiencing the presence of the resurrected Lord in all the events of our lives, and especially seeing and receiving real presence the glorious Lord in the appearance of bread. 

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad” (Psalm 118:24).


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