SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest Reflects on Easter Peace
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 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.
The eleven apostles of today\'s gospel passage were discouraged and filled with fear. They had lost all hope. They did not understand that Jesus had to first die on the Cross in order to rise on Easter Sunday.
\"Peace be with you." These are the first words of the risen Jesus. He dispels the darkness of discouragement, despair and fear by showing the eleven his glorified and wounded body.
Thomas places his finger in the wounds of Jesus and he believes. \"Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe\" (John 20: 27).
Many call Thomas the doubting Thomas. All of the Apostles doubted. All of the Apostles ran away and abandoned Jesus. In reality, he is not the doubting Thomas, but the courageous Thomas. He is the only apostle who knows where to find Jesus.
By touching the wounds of Jesus, he begins to understand that the risen Jesus is not a ghost, but that he is truly real. By encountering the wounds of Jesus, he is able to encounter the authentic Jesus, the real Jesus, the whole Jesus.
Because he is able to encounter the Jesus that shed his blood on the Cross, he falls to the ground and pronounces a profound act of faith: \"My Lord and my God."
Thomas is able to encounter Jesus in all of his humanity and all of his divinity.
He comes to grasp the reality that the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary.
But, where is the risen and wounded Jesus? Where can we encounter him?
As Jesus hung on the Cross, all of his blood flowed from his wounds. The eternal reminder of his wounds reminds us that we are to experience him in the Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Penance.
By coming to Jesus every day at Mass, for visits and adoration; by encountering the God of mercy through the awesome gift of the sacrament of forgiveness, we can dispel the despair, the discouragement and the fear that may fill our lives.
It is in the Eucharist that we encounter peace because we truly encounter the Lord. We need to bring our wounds to the risen and wounded Jesus every day in the Eucharist. It is there, at the tabernacle, that his wounds will heal us.
On this feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, let us remember the words that Blessed John Paul II wrote in his second encyclical letter: "Believing in the crucified Son means 'seeing the Father,' means believing that love is present in the world and that this love is more powerful than any kind of evil in which individuals, humanity, or the world are involved.
Believing in this love means believing in mercy.
For mercy is an indispensable dimension of love; it is as it were love\'s second name and, at the same time, the specific manner in which love is revealed and effected vis-a-vis the reality of the evil that is in the world, affecting and besieging man, insinuating itself even into his heart and capable of causing him to perish in Gehenna" (Dives in Misericordia).
Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org and listen to the audio podcast of this Sunday homily. Apps for Father James' homilies are now available for Android and iPhone.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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