Homily – April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday

Today we Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus our Christ, our redeemer. The resurrection shows God the Father’s acceptance of the obedience and sacrifice of his Son, Jesus. This feast is foundational to our Christian faith. St. Paul teaches, ‘ if Christ be not risen we are still in our sins.’ If Christ be not risen Good Friday was for nothing. We believe that Christ is risen and we too have been raised in him to live a new life for God.

I read an article recently by a columnist for the New York Times. It was titled; Easter is calling me back to church.’ The author and her family attended Mass every Sunday and liked Easter Sunday in a special way. She writes, ‘all that changed for me. I just couldn’t forgive my fellow Christians for electing a man who exploited his employees, boasted of his sexual assaults, encouraged violence against citizens who disagreed with him and welcomed the support of virulent white supremacists. All this was so distant from what Jesus meant when he told his disciples,’ love one another as I have loved you.’ The negativity and the dividedness that permeates social life challenged her faith in the church, but not God.

But she made her decision to return to the church community saying this Easter Sunday she will join her fellow Catholics as they celebrate the Resurrection. She says, ‘I will lift my voice in song and give thanks for my life. I will pray for my country, especially the people my country and my church are failing. And then I will walk into the world and do my best to practise the resurrection.’

That’s what struck me in this whole article – I will do my best to practise the resurrection. I read this as this good women’s commitment to reject the negativity and the cynicism and dividedness that plagues our social life today when we read of such madness as Mosques and Synagogues defaced by vandals and Moslems murdered as they prayed, when people resent our openness to refugees and immigrants. These actions and mindset are death dealing not life giving. They do not reflect the life giving reality of Christ’s death and resurrection.

In the gospel we hear of Mary Magdalene bringing new life, new hope, new purpose and new enthusiasm to the dispirited apostles when she brought them the news, “I have seen the Lord.’ This was her way of practicing the resurrection – spreading the awesome news – He lives.

How can I, how can you practice the resurrection? We practice Christ’s resurrection when we respect and welcome men and women who believe differently than ourselves. We practice Christ’s resurrection when we accept as brothers and sisters men and women who come from different lands and cultures, different racial backgrounds. We practice Christ’s resurrection when we accept and respect men and women who are members of the LGBTQ community. We practice Christ’s resurrection when are there for the men, women and children who are on welfare, families who live below the poverty line and ask for our help.

We practice Christ’s resurrection when we support social issues such as the minimum wage and affordable housing. We can practice Christ’s resurrection by seeking to come to a deeper appreciation and respect for God’s good creation. We can practice Christ’s resurrection by saying only the good things people need to hear, things that will really lift them up.

We practice Christ’s resurrection any and every time we bring peace and healing to any situation in our daily living’

Christ has died, Christ is risen. As we continue to celebrate this Mass and this feast we pray for ourselves and for each other that the Risen Christ gives us the courage we need to practice his resurrection.