Open to Grace, Now

Open to Grace, Now

April 4, 2021 | N W | Deacon Eddie, Easter, Faith, Grace, Hope, Love, Resurrection, Sacraments

The Resurrection of the Lord
April 4, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43 / Ps 118 / Col 3:1-4 / Jn 20:1-9
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon

Today we celebrate the glorious resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ! The tomb is empty! Jesus has destroyed death, and He has gone to Galilee. That’s the story we hear in the gospels.

Last night, at the Easter Vigil, we had nine readings. Father Sal explained to us that the first seven are actually a love story – the love story between God and His people.

We heard about how, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and it was good. He created man and woman, and they dwelt together in the garden, and it was the epitome of grace. Unfortunately, through sin it was all destroyed. They were cast out of the garden and they were separated from God.

Throughout generation after generation after generation, people sought to redeem themselves and to pay the price of sin through sacrifice. But their sacrifices were not enough to pay the whole debt. Sin was continuing, and they were distanced from God. Sacrifice just didn’t take care of it.

Finally, God himself re-entered the world. He was born as a babe in a little town called Bethlehem. God incarnate returned, and He began the work of putting things back together.

But people failed to realize what was happening. They failed to see Jesus for who He was – and they crucified Him. So, we have to ask ourselves, “Why didn’t they realize what they had?” And we need to ask ourselves that, because the reasons are many, and have not changed. The list of reasons is very long, but I’d like to discuss just two.

The people in Jesus’ time were focused too much on the past and too much on the future to realize what they had in the present. They were focused on the glory days of the Kingdom of David – this fabulous king, this conqueror. They had heard the prophecies that the heir of David would return and re-establish the kingdom, and they were expecting it to be just like it was before.

They were also looking ahead. They were under occupation by the Roman Empire. Their land was not their own, and they were looking forward to the great return of the king, when he would drive out the Romans and reestablish his kingdom, and they failed to see what they had.

We do the same thing. We get so focused on the past – on things that have been done to us, or what we have done in the past – that we block out the grace that is offered to us in the present. Or, we look forward to the future and our mind is constantly there, when ‘we have more money, we’ll do so much to help the poor,’ when, ‘I just make up for my mistakes, then God will love me.’ We fail to be open to the grace that is available to us right now.

The people in Jesus’ time also couldn’t see Jesus for what He was, because He wasn’t what they were expecting. They were expecting a king; instead, they got a carpenter. They didn’t get a scholar; they got a blue-collar man. They didn’t get someone who grew up in the metropolitan area of Jerusalem; they got someone from ‘out in the sticks,’ from a place called Nazareth, and they failed to see who and what He was. They failed to accept the miracles for what they were, because it didn’t fit their expectations.

And too often we do the same thing. We get so focused on what we see instead of opening our hearts to what we have. We fail to see the need in front of us. We get focused on our expectations, and again, we fail to be open to the grace that we can experience through service, through doing the work of the Gospel.

But! The tomb is empty. Jesus paid the ultimate price. And Jesus is with us here today. He is in us, and He is sacramentally present – body, blood, soul, and divinity – in the Eucharist. And, we don’t have to be focused on our worthiness – we’re not, but we are not called to be perfect. We are called to be open to the grace of the sacraments and grace through the work of the Lord.

Jesus is Risen! Death has been conquered, and He has gone forth to Galilee!

Alleluia! Alleluia!

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