Audio Available!

Audio Available!
Be sure to check out in each blog post the links to the audio recordings of my homilies. They are at the beginning of each post! Also, look to the right for links to Audio from other good resources!

Friday, April 3, 2015

2015 Easter Sunday Homily!

 What would life be like without Jesus? Have you ever considered this? How would the past 2,000 years of history have looked if it weren't for the truth that God became man, forgave sinners by dying on the Cross and healed them all the way to the very core of their illness by His Resurrection, and established the Church to carry out the work of saving souls of every generation from their sins? Would the U.S. even exist at all or would we even recognize it?  Would the hospital system, so deeply founded in the Christian principle of love of neighbor and universal dignity of every person, have ever been thought up? How about the university, founded on the Christian principle that the world was created by God and that universal truths can be discovered and applied?
But most importantly, how would we view death if it weren't for Jesus? Without the Resurrection, we would be stuck with only the other proposals of our world: Buddhism, that death is nothing. Atheism, that even life is nothing. Egyptian embalming in hope of preserving earthly life forever. Greco-Roman ideas that our spirits live on in some mysterious half-life. Judaism, which began to hope for some type of afterlife and reward for the just, but remained only a distant prayer to God.
Allow this question to really help you appreciate Easter: what would your life be like without Jesus?  Only then do we begin to understand the importance of Christ, and it is precisely the mysteries we complete today that make His story the most important in all of human history.
The Resurrection is absolutely fundamental: without it, our faith is pointless.  But thanks be to God it actually happened.  Indeed, the only explanation for why the twelve apostles would waste their lives running to the ends of the earth, leaving their families behind, being for the most part completely rejected by their Jewish communities, living mostly in poverty as outlaws of the Roman government, and eventually killed.  Why would Paul change, almost overnight(!), from a vicious hunter to the strongest witness to the faith, changing his entire value system so that he can say ("life is Christ and death is gain") unless he truly did encounter the Risen Lord Jesus on His way to Damascus?
These witnesses of the Resurrection testified before the world - something that we are all called to do as well.
Pope Francis says that every disciple is a missionary disciple. Blessed Pope Paul VI said the world listens to witnesses more than teachers, and if it listens to teachers, it is because they are witnesses – that is, they live what they teach.  In order for the world to believe in the Resurrection and the transformation Jesus won for us by his Paschal Mystery, we have to draw them in by showing “the Joy of the Gospel” in every part of our life.  We have to show them that we are different, because we are called to be in the world but not of it, and if Christians are simply riding the wave of the culture, then they cannot steer that culture to a higher good. So how do we witness as missionary disciples? Do we go across the world and preach like Peter and Paul did? Not necessarily.  Right next door to us we all know souls that are lost and broken in this world, forgetful or perhaps never taught of the Love God has for them.
And the first way we do that is we let Christ transform us – deeply, entirely, a complete fresh start, breaking ourselves down to nothing so we can be built up completely anew. I would like to propose four specific ways that God is inviting every one of us, churchgoers or not, to a higher and deeper life transformed by the truth of the Resurrection and sure and certain hope of eternal life.

They come from a book called The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly, which I encourage you all to order from the website, The book outlines four things we can do throughout this entire year to allow the Lord Jesus to recreate us into the new creation, the redeemed and restored human person that lives life on a deeper plane.
  1. Prayer - Spend ten minutes a day in prayerful conversation with God.  Schedule it daily and make it a part of your "daily essentials" like food or sleep or your version of relaxing.  If you wish to know peace in your life, know Our Lord Jesus Christ in personal prayer.
  2. Study - Learn more about Christ, the Bible, Church History, or the teachings of the Church.  This could include Catholic books or CD's or podcasts or blogs; our Catholic radio station, Redeemer Radio 95.7FM, or attending faith-strengthening events in the parish or beyond.
  3. Generosity - Give 1% more of your income to the parish or to your choice of charitable organization.  A life of  generosity is way beyond giving money, but this is a starting part to looking beyond your own life and focusing on others as Christ did, and will flow into the rest of your life.
  4. Evangelization (Witnessing) Sharing your faith seems intimidating, but it is really as easy as sharing a CD or book or blog-post with someone who you know, family or friends.  When your life has daily prayer time, and you are learning more about the faith and living a life of sharing with others, you can't help but share your love for Jesus and witness - both with words and more importantly with actions.
Thanks be to God for the Easter.  May the Resurrection of Christ be the center of our lives.  May it transform us and help us become the new witnesses that our broken world is longing to hear from.  Amen.

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