March 27, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43 / Psalm 118 / Col 3:1-4 / Jn 20:1-9
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon
When Father Sal told me he wanted me to preach this morning, my first thought was, “What do I say?” After all, today is THE day, the pinnacle of days. Today we celebrate the triumphal conclusion of Christ’s Paschal Mystery; His suffering, death and His glorious resurrection. What can be said except, “Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia!” Amen!
That was my first thought, but then I remembered my number one obligation is to preach the Gospel; the Good News of Jesus Christ. I can sum up this Gospel with three words: God loves us. God loves us and I can even prove it.
When we turned our backs on Him, He didn’t turn His back on us. He could have washed His hands clean, like Pilate. He could have gone off to another place and created humanity 2.0, but He didn’t. He decided not to give up on us. Instead, He started the slow process of calling us back to Him. He sent prophets to help us. He sent prophets in the past and continues to do so today. Think of Moses, Elijah and Isaiah. Think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis. The list goes on and on. What does a prophet do but call us back to God?
But God didn’t stop there. He loved us so much that He decided to take matters into His own hands. By the power of the Holy Spirit and through the Virgin Mary, He became one of us. He shared the same trials and experiences we do; felt hunger and weariness, love and rejection, sorrow and temptation. He suffered persecution. He even suffered a violent death. And through this death, He paved the way for us to become like Him. He conquered death through His resurrection. Death is no longer the end, but the beginning.
On Good Friday all seemed lost. Most of His disciples abandoned Him. Ever Peter, the rock, broke under the weight of the loss. On Sunday morning, though, hope returned. They discovered the body was missing and the burial cloths were tossed aside; the trappings of death were no longer needed. His disciples did not completely understand, but they began to take hope. They began to think that maybe Jesus really meant what He said. They began to replace fear with boldness.
In the first reading, we see what happened as a result. Peter, who had been hiding in the upper room with the other disciples, is now speaking out. He has entered the home of a Gentile, an action prohibited to Jews, and he is preaching the Gospel to them.
Jesus promises to do the same for us. God loves us and He has not left us alone. He left us His Church. By the power of the Holy Spirit, She has endured for 2000 years. He has made each one of us part of His Mystical Body. He has called each one of us to join Him in His work of bringing light into darkness and calling people back to Him.
You see, my obligation to preach the Gospel and share the Good News is not the result of my ordination. It is the result of my Baptism. ALL of the baptized have that obligation. All Christians are called to bring good news to the afflicted, to proclaim liberty to captives, to announce a day of vindication and to comfort all who mourn; to visit the sick, to help the poor, to welcome the stranger. We are ALL called to share in Jesus’ priestly, prophetic and kingly ministry. That calling continues beyond our physical death into the glorious life that awaits us.
Today truly is the Day the Lord has made. It is the hope for the future and for what awaits us. It is a day to take comfort in the fact that we are not alone. Our God loves us and understands us, because He has been there and done that. He died for us and has risen for us. So let us rejoice and be glad.