Easter Sunday (C)
Fr. Tony’s Homily
Fr. Tony’s Homily
Fr. Tony’s Homily
FEARLESS SOUL (5:06) – Struggles Give Us Strength
The Butterfly and the Cocoon
FEATURED ANECDOTE: As a butterfly soared overhead, one caterpillar said to the other, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things!” Yet for every caterpillar the time comes when the urge to eat and grow subsides and he instinctively begins to form a chrysalis around himself. The chrysalis hardens and you’d think for all the world that the caterpillar was dead. But one spring morning the life inside the chrysalis will begin to writhe, the top will crack open, and a beautifully formed butterfly will emerge. For hours it will stand stretching and drying its wings, moving them slowly up and down, up and down. And then, before you know it, the butterfly will glide aloft, effortlessly riding the currents of the air, alighting on flower after gorgeous flower, as if to show off its vivid colors to the bright blossoms.
Somehow, the miracle of the butterfly never loses its fascination for us. Perhaps that is because the butterfly is a living parable of the promise of Resurrection. On Easter morning, the disciples saw Jesus’ graveclothes on the cold slab, empty, but still lying in the wrapped folds that had gone around and round the corpse. Only the corpse was gone, the grave clothes left behind, much like an empty chrysalis deserted by a butterfly which has left it to soar free. “He is risen as He said,” (Mt 28:6) an angel told the women who had come to the tomb to anoint His dead Body.
The Significance of Easter
Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church. It marks the birthday of our eternal hope. “Easter” literally means “the feast of fresh flowers.” We celebrate it with pride and jubilation for four reasons:
1) The Resurrection of Christ is the basis of our Christian Faith. It is the greatest of the miracles, for it proves that Jesus is God. That is why St. Paul writes:
“If Christ has not been raised,
then our preaching is in vain;
and your Faith is in vain” (I Cor 15:14).
“Jesus is Lord, He is risen” (Rom 10:9), was the central theme of the kerygma (or “preaching”), of the Apostles
2) Easter is the guarantee of our own resurrection. Jesus assured Martha at the tomb of Lazarus:
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me will live even though he dies…” (Jn 11:25-26).
3) Easter is a feast which gives us hope and encouragement in this world of pain, sorrows and tears. It reminds us that life is worth living. It also gives us strength to fight against temptations and freedom from unnecessary worries and fears.
4) Easter gives meaning to our prayers: It supports our belief in the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus in and around us, in His Church, in the Blessed Sacrament and in Heaven, hearing our prayers, and so gives meaning to our personal as well as our communal prayers.
Insert anecdote here
You can use the one featured above or choose another
Why We Believe in the Resurrection
Choose as many as time allows.
(1) Jesus himself testified to his Resurrection from the dead, giving it as a sign of his divinity. (Mark 8:31; Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22).
Tear down this temple and in three days I will build it again”(Jn 2: 19).
(2) The tomb was empty on Easter Sunday (Luke 24:3). Although the guards claimed (Matthew 28:13), that the disciples of Jesus had stolen the body, every sensible Jew knew that it was impossible for the terrified disciples of Jesus to steal the body of Jesus from a tomb guarded by an armed, 16-member Roman Guard detachment.
(3) The initial disbelief of Jesus’ own disciples in Jesus’ Resurrection, in spite of His repeated apparitions, serves as a strong proof of his Resurrection. Their initial disbelief explains why the Apostles started preaching the Risen Christ only after receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
(4) The transformation of Jesus’ disciples: Jesus’ Resurrection and the anointing of the Holy Spirit transformed men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Luke 24:21, John 20:19), into men who now were confident and bold witnesses to the Resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2)powerfully preaching the Risen Lord.
(5) Neither the Jews nor the Romans could disprove Jesus’ Resurrection by presenting the dead body of Jesus.
(6) The Apostles and early Christians would not have fearlessly preached Christ as Savior and faced martyrdom if they were not absolutely sure of Jesus’ Resurrection.
(7) The Apostle Paul’s conversion from a persecutor of Christians to a zealous preacher of Jesus supports the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection (Galatians 1:11-17, Acts 9:1, Acts 9:24-25, Acts 26:15-18).
(8) The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian Church, bravely facing and surviving three centuries of persecution, supports the truth of the Resurrection claim.
(9) The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers. The Apostles and the early Christians were absolutely sure about the Resurrection of Jesus.
In the first reading, St. Peter shares his own experience of Christ’s Resurrection and its joy with the members of the pagan Cornelius’ family who received the Holy Spirit as he spoke and then were baptized.
In the second reading, St. Paul, bearing witness to his conversion experience and Faith in the risen Lord, reminds the Colossians, “you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God! When Christ your Life, appears, then you, too, will appear with Him in glory.”
Today’s Gospel explains the empty-tomb Resurrection experiences of Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John. Mary Magdalene proclaims her personal experience: “I have seen the Lord”(Jn 20:18).
The Resurrection of Jesus had certain special features.
First, Jesus prophesied it as a sign of His Divinity: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”(Jn 2:19).
Second, the founder of no other religion has an empty tomb as Jesus does. We see the fulfillment of Christ’s promise on the empty cross and in the empty tomb. The angel said to the women at Jesus’ tomb: “Why are you looking among the dead for One Who is alive? He is not here but has risen” (Luke 24:5-6). The real proof, however, is not the empty tomb but the lives of believers filled with His Spirit today!
The third special feature is the initial disbelief of Jesus’ own disciples in his Resurrection, in spite of his repeated apparitions. This serves as a strong proof of his Resurrection. It explains why the apostles started preaching the Risen Christ only after receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Proclamation and witness-bearing are the main themes of today’s readings.
Today’s first reading, the third of Isaiah’s four Servant Songs, like the other three, foreshadows Jesus’ own life and mission.
The Refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 22),”My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” plunges us into the heart of Christ’s Passion.
The Second Reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, is an ancient Christian hymn representing a very early Christian understanding of who Jesus is, and of how his mission saves us from sin and death.
The first part of today’s Gospel describes the royal reception Jesus received from his admirers, who paraded with him for a distance of the two miles between the Mount of Olives and the city of Jerusalem.
In the second part of today’s Gospel, we listen to/participate in a reading of the Passion of Christ according to Luke. We are challenged to examine our own lives in the light of some of the characters in the Passion story – like Peter who denied Jesus, Judas who betrayed Jesus, Herod who ridiculed Jesus, Pilate who acted against his conscience as he condemned Jesus to death on the cross, and the leaders of the people who preserved their position by getting rid of Jesus.
Choose as many as time allows
1) Let us live the lives of Resurrection people: We are not supposed to lie buried in the tomb of our sins, evil habits, dangerous addictions, despair, discouragement or doubts. Instead, we are expected to live a joyful and peaceful life, constantly experiencing the living presence of the Risen Lord Who loves us in all the events of our lives and amid the boredom, suffering, pain and tensions of our day-to-day life.
2) The conviction of the real presence of the Risen Lord with us and within us and all around us, enables us to lead disciplined Christian lives. It will help us to control our thoughts, desires, words, behavior and actions.
3) This salutary awareness of the presence of the Risen Lord within us inspires us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure and free from evil habits and addictions. Our conviction that the loving presence of the Risen Lord dwells in our neighbors and in all those we encounter, should encourage us to respect them and to render them loving, humble and selfless service.
4) We need to become transparent Christians, radiating the Risen Lord around us in the form of selfless and sacrificial agape love, mercy, compassion and a spirit of humble service. each time we try to practice Christian charity, mercy and forgiveness and each time we fight against temptations, we share in the Resurrection of Jesus. (L/22)
End of homily
Joke of the Week
At the end of Mass, some priests like to offer a joke to their parishioners. Please be sensitive though to particular circumstances or concerns. Some Jokes may not be suitable for particular times, placeS, or congregations.
Joseph of Arimathaea was a very wealthy Pharisee, a member of the Council, and a secret follower of Jesus. It was Joseph who went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body after the crucifixion. And it was Joseph who supplied the tomb for Jesus’ burial.
I wonder if someone pulled him aside and said, “Joseph that was such beautiful, costly, hand-hewn tomb. Why on earth did you give it to someone to be buried in?”
“Why not?” Joseph may have answered. “He only needed it for the weekend.”
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