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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Risen Christ ~ Divine Mercy

Here is the cyber-version of my homily for this Second Sunday of Easter ~ Divine Mercy Sunday:
Today we celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter, also recognized as Divine Mercy Sunday {St. Faustina}. Our Bible readings share the rich and clear message of that holy mercy of God needed, found and lived in the hearts and lives of the early believers in the Risen Christ.
Most Christians at some point in their life have wondered and desired to have been able to be there, to see, hear and touch Jesus. It is in knowing that longing our Lord shared in John’s Gospel account a profound promise and blessing that even the very Apostles could not receive.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
This singular promise, this blessing, although given over 2000 years ago, is found and experienced in the same simple journey as those believers in Jerusalem those days following our Lord’s resurrection.

Risen Christ, His Mercy is Needed: The post-crucifixion disciples, fear-bound in doubt-locked rooms remained so until the Risen Christ brought His mercy to them.
Thomas the Apostle, known for his honesty caution and doubts needed the merciful encounter with his Risen Lord to be freed to become the Apostle of the East.
Sister Faustina, by the world’s standards trapped by a life of poverty and very limited education was to become the Saint of the Divine Mercy by her simple yieldedness to her Risen Lord.
And we today, bound by sin, by fears, pride, and doubts need Christ’s mercies that are as new this day as they were that first Easter over two thousand years ago.

Jesus Risen from the Dead is our Mercy Found: The faith of the early Church was loosed as they received Christ:
In His Word as they heard and received His Word of peace and purpose,
In the power of God’s Spirit & Peace, receiving living the life of forgiveness and sharing that same forgiveness in word and deed,
In His Wounds as Thomas presented the pattern and proof for all that as we enter the wounds of Christ His holiness, wholeness and love bring the mercy of the Father.

Jesus, Mercy, Lived: The early Church that we read of in our first reading from the Book of Acts is beautiful in the simple power of selfless love and faith. Dismissed by many as a fluke and experiment that failed it is in reality the pattern that is meant to be applied and lived by all true believers. While most will not live in a structured community of faith this pattern, when lived in homes, parishes, hearts and lives will allow the very real Presence and Blessing of the Risen Jesus, His Love and mercy, His power and peace to be lived, known and shared.

Whether we look to the example of the Apostle Thomas, from doubter and skeptic to the Apostle & martyr to the East; the early Church living in simple selfless trust and love; the 20th century example of St. Faustina; we hear and see the promise and call of our Lord to receive the blessing of His divine mercy and to then live that mercy in our deeds and words.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ruin or Resurrection?

Easter Sunday 2009
This Easter the message of the ruin of the Kingdom of Christ seems to be the theme of choice in so much of the media.
The tragic murder of a little Sandra Cantu in Tracy California has been pinned on a neighbor woman. While the motive remains a mystery the media seems intent on publicizing at every opportunity the fact that the accused was a Sunday School teacher in a neighboring Baptist Church. The chorus of anti-religion seen in the comments online of various media is virulent in the hate and disdain of things of God.
President Obama has appointed Harry Knox to the Faith-Based Partnership Council. Interestingly Harry Knox seems to thrive on criticizing Roman Catholics and other traditional Christians. It is applauded by those who seem to want to affirm the President's comments on his European trip that the United States was not a Christian country.
Even in the natural world the earthquake in Italy has wrought heartbreaking sorrows on that country. The images of beautiful old churches in broken ruin, of masses of caskets, some of little children, to some, would speak of absence or perhaps the judgment of God.
Yes. There is real sorrow and shocking violence abundant in life. The focus of those who would look for and find every fault and crack in the church as a sign of ruin is very prevalent.
But none of this is new. Evil, sorrow, bigotry and hate have been a part of life on earth for a long time. The Church, the Body of Christ has been assaulted in many ways, times and places.
Many years ago a young Catholic man, after experiencing the empty violence and greed of the world found himself in a ruined little church. It was there Christ spoke to Francis of Assisi to rebuild His Church.
Even centuries earlier at a tear and fear drenched tomb some women came to tend their very real grief and sorrows. Another earthquake shattered their world. The angels appeared and proclaimed: "He is Risen. Go and tell the others".
Easter ~ 2009 amidst the sorrows and doubts of this world our Risen Lord, His holy love will still triumph.
Peace and all good in the Peace of the Risen Christ.