The Happy Priest on Easter: He Has Truly Risen, We Are Free From Fear
the gardener." (John 20: 15).
Think of a place on earth that is very, very hot. Think of a time when there were no washing machines; no dry cleaners; no Malls to buy clothes; people making their own clothes; and people have only a few outfits.
During the time when Jesus walked the earth, gardeners worked naked. So, if Mary Magdalen looked upon a naked man and thought that he was the gardener, could it be possible that Jesus rose from the dead naked and if that were the case, why is it important for our consideration?
Referring to John the Evangelist when he waited for Peter before entering the empty tomb, the same narrative says: "he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground." (John 20: 5). Then when Peter enters the tomb, the Gospel tells us that "he saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself" (John 20: 6-7).
We live in a pornographic culture. Millions of people are addicted to pornography. It is all around us.
What is pornography? It is a lie. It is counterfeit. It is a distortion. And you know who the father of lies is, right?
The only way to be free from pornography is through the truth of the human body.
Go to Rome. Enter into the great basilicas; the museums; the plazas and what do you see? The naked body; the truth of the body.
And you know what? In Rome you do not notice an obsession with pornography the way you do in our own culture. Why? Because the Romans, like everyone who lives in a Catholic culture are immersed in the truth of the body.
Catholicism is physical. We have art and music. We have poetry and incense. We have feast days with food and wine. We have gardens and fountains. We have saints, mystics and incorrupt bodies lying in tombs. We are immersed in the physical because Jesus has risen from the dead with a glorified body.
With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted.
"The glory of God is man fully alive" are the beautiful words of Saint Irenaeus.
Too many people are walking around like zombies because they are immersed in the pornographic.
We need to be able to see again.
We need a new romance.
We need to fall in love again.
As Saint Augustine says, "To fall in love with God is the greatest of romances, to seek him the greatest adventure, to find him the greatest human achievement."
"We are the people of life because God, in his unconditional love, has given us the Gospel of life and by this same Gospel we have been transformed and saved. We have been ransomed by the 'Author of life' at the price of his precious blood. Through the waters of Baptism we have been made a part of him, as branches which draw nourishment and fruitfulness from the one tree. Interiorly renewed by grace of the Spirit, who is the Lord and giver of life, we have become a people for life and we are called to act accordingly" (Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II, #79.1)
Perhaps the notion of the nakedness of the Risen Jesus is difficult to consider, even daunting to write about.
However, is not the Eucharist the Risen Body of Jesus? Cannot we affirm that the Risen Jesus is naked in heaven? Thus, cannot the naked body of Jesus draw us out of sin and allow us to see our own body and every other body in a different way, free from lust?
Although we will always struggle with concupiscence until the resurrection of the body, is it not possible for the naked Risen Jesus to free us from lust and allow us to love correctly?
In other words, is it not possible that the exposed Eucharist more clearly draws us, through grace, to understand the nuptial relationship between me and God?
Is it not possible that the exposed Eucharist more clearly makes the Body of the Lord a gift for me and me a gift for him?
Theologically, there is no difference between the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the Tabernacle and the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the Monstrance. But, we do use the word exposed. Is this not the same as saying naked? Is he not open, vulnerable and exposed for us, so that we may receive his love?
Is it not possible that the risen and naked body of Christ, solemnly exposed in the Monstrance, can free us from the darkness of lust so that we can see our body and the bodies of others with a new vision, the vision of the redeemed?
Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX. Visit him on the web and pray for him
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Father James Farfaglia, Easter Sunday, fear, Freedom, Sunday homillies, Jesus, the Risen Jesus, Theology of the Body
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