Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

4/9/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

To fall in love with God is the greatest of romances, to seek him the greatest adventure, to find him the greatest human achievement

With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted.  When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled with sin; we are freed from the loneliness of a life without meaning.  When we walk with Jesus and follow his way, life becomes so powerful that it cannot die but must find in death the transition to a higher life.

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/9/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Lent / Easter

Keywords: Father James Farfaglia, Easter Sunday, fear, Freedom, Sunday homillies, Jesus, the Risen Jesus, Theology of the Body


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - The resurrection of Jesus is a reality beyond doubt.  The liturgical season of Easter fills us with immense joy and profound hope.  However, each time we contemplate the gospel passages detailing the resurrection of Jesus we are faced with a sense of strangeness.

The barriers of time and space no longer apply to him.  The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness.  He continually demonstrates his physical reality.  The Apostles and the disciples see him, hear him and eat with him.  Thomas is told to touch his wounds.  The stone rolled away from the entrance and the carefully folded burial cloths direct our gaze to the physical.  He has truly risen. 

The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ.  Slowly they came to recognize him, but they still struggled with doubt.  Their response shows us that although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary, his physical reality is now different than before.  The body of the risen Lord is indeed his physical body, but he now moves about with a glorified body.

Repeatedly the gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred.  The Lord is tangible, but he has been transformed.  His life is different from what it once was.  His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space.  For this reason, he can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room.  He appears and disappears as he desires.  At times his disciples cannot recognize him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord's physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although he exists within time and space.

The clarity of the physical reality of the risen Jesus provides us with the certainty of the existence of the Lord and the veracity of everything that he has taught us.  The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well. 

Applied to our practical daily living, the reality of the Risen Jesus fills us with profound peace.  There is no need to worry or to fear.  He is truly with us.  With Jesus, we know that we are journeying, not to the sunset, but to the sunrise.  We enter into a new relationship with God when we really believe that God is as Jesus told us that he is. 

We become absolutely sure of his love.  We become absolutely convinced that he is above all else a redeeming God.  The fear of suffering and death vanishes, for suffering and death means going to the one God who is the awesome God of love.  In reality, our life long journey is a journey to the eternal Easter in Heaven.

When we truly believe, we enter into a new relationship with life itself.  When we make Jesus our way of life, life becomes new.  Life is clad with a new loveliness, a new light and a new strength. When we embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior, when we develop a personal relationship with him, we realize that life does not end, it changes and it goes from incompletion to completion, from imperfection to perfection, from time to eternity.

When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled with sin; we are freed from the loneliness of a life without meaning.  When we walk with Jesus and follow his way, life becomes so powerful that it cannot die but must find in death the transition to a higher life.

The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead makes our entire journey to eternal life tangible, real, certain and credible.  Because Jesus is physically alive, his Church is visible.  Because Jesus is corporeal, the sacraments are visible aqueducts of his divine life.  Because Jesus physically transcends time and space, he remains with us in the Eucharist as the "medicine of immortality" (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1405). Because Jesus has truly risen from the dead and ascended to the Father, we await with joyful hope his return in glory.

The reality of the risen Jesus fills us with peace and consolation because he is truly with us.  His resurrection assures us of his final victory over evil.  The genuineness of Easter keeps us from worry, fear and discouragement.  It sustains us in times of trial and it opens the heart to the expectation of eternal life. 

As we contemplate the gospel narratives about the resurrection of Jesus, there is something in the Gospel of Saint John that I never understood.  Why did Mary Magdalen think that the Risen Jesus was the gardener?  "Supposing him to be 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

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Lent / Easter

Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Take our Lent quiz! See how much you know about the tradition of Lent! Take our Lent quiz, then challenge your friends. See how much you know about this special season in the Liturgical year. The quiz has just a few questions, but will certainly provide a quick ... continue reading


Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How familiar are you with the Stations of the Cross? Take the Catholic Online survey now to share your answers to our questions. Your responses will help us serve you better by tailoring content that suits your needs. The survey is short and should take just 1 minute ... continue reading


10 important things to consider during Lent Watch

Image of What are our options during Lent? (Shutterstock)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Every year we give something up for Lent. Sometimes picking what to give up is hard and other times we consider doing something extra to really immerse ourselves in what God has for us - but what are our options? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lent isn't just ... continue reading


5 little-known facts about Lent you need to learn this Ash Wednesday Watch

Image of Lent is more than just fasting (Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Everyone knows that Mardi Gras kicks off the upcoming 40-day Lent, which honors the time Jesus fasted in the wilderness, but did you know there is more to it? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recently the Independent released their list of "5 things you might not ... continue reading


Ash Wednesday: 'Seek To Experience God's Presence Within' Watch

Image of

By F. K. Bartels

"You may ask me: 'But, does God exist? And if he exists does he really concern himself with us? Can we reach him?' It is, indeed, true that we cannot place God on the table, we cannot touch him or pick him up like an ordinary object. We must rediscover our capacity to ... continue reading


POPE'S MASS: Ash Wednesday (FULL TEXT: English) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana

The unofficial English translation to Pope Francis' prepared homily for the 2016 Ash Wednesday Mass: The Word of God, the beginning of the Lenten journey, addressed to the Church and to each of us invitations.The first is that of St. Paul: " Be reconciled to God " ( ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special Ash Wednesday message for 'Keep Lent' initiative Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis sent out his first audio message for "Keep Lent" over social media. 'Keep Lent' is an initiative of the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii's youth ministry office. According to the Vatican Radio, "The initiative begins on Ash ... continue reading


Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras Meant to Be More than a Party Watch

Image of Some have tried to argue that this term meant that people should discard their moral faith commitments and for the night and just

By Fr. Randy Sly

One could call this celebration the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the penitential Season of the forty days of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance. Ironically, carnival ... continue reading


Missing The Point of Easter Watch

Image of Alex Basile is the Religion Department chair at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, NY. He has written nine books for Saint Pauls/Alba House. www.alexbasile.net

By Alex Basile

Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made her way to tomb of her friend and teacher. Fighting back tears and ... continue reading


The Happy Priest on Easter: He Has Truly Risen, We Are Free From Fear Watch

Image of

By Fr. James Farfaglia

With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted.  When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled ... continue reading


All Lent / Easter News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Paschal: Saint of the Day for Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Is Valentine's Day...? (Take the quick survey!)
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 2:12-18
12 'But now -- declares Yahweh- come back to me with all your heart, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 5:20--6:2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 10th, 2016 Image

St. Scholastica
February 10: St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, ... Read More