Homily for March 27th, 2005.
Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.
Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.
Easter Sunday 2005
“Jesus raised from the dead!”
From a human perspective, the life-story of Jesus has all the appearances of being a failure and a waste in the end. He may have been an inspiring figure for a while, but in the end he was betrayed, denied, deserted by most of those associated with him; he was rejected and condemned to death by the leaders of the religious tradition that was his own. And even the God he had talked about and had put his trust in appeared nowhere when he needed him most.
But is it not strange that we still come together in the name of this Jesus? Stranger still, that we dare to come together around that piece of wood (instrument of shame and death) and that we even give that piece of wood a place of honour in our midst? That defies all human logic!
We dare to do so because we do not assess Jesus’ life-story from a human perspective only. The God that Jesus bore witness to has his own assessment of Jesus’ life-story. And God’s version is that Jesus’ life of service to others and of trust in God is not a waste, is not futile, but is the cornerstone of a new humanity; it is the ushering in of God’s Kingdom in our world. God’s version is captured in the line: God raised him from the dead. All the resurrection stories in the Bible are a summons to us to let ourselves be won over by God’s version about Jesus.
Our being together here says that we are prepared to accept God’s version about Jesus; it may be with some hesitation and even trepidation. In fact, it better be with some hesitation because there is a catch to siding with God’s claim about Jesus and to professing him as raised from the dead. The catch is this: it will profoundly impact on the way we stand in life; it will transform us into resurrection people; it will make us do resurrection things, things that are typical of an in-Christ-re-created humanity. It will make us stand in life “with Easter-glasses on”.
What are some of those things that resurrection-people do? Resurrection people will, in the power of the risen Jesus, continue to have faith in and stand by each other. Resurrection people will dare to forgive instead of holding grudges or seeking revenge. Resurrection people will let go of their clenched fists ready to defend their rights and self-interests and instead open them to serve and welcome others in their need. Resurrection people will say about those who have died that they are in the presence of a God who gives life beyond death.
Accepting God’s version about the final outcome of the life-story of Jesus has everything to do with us being grafted onto the risen Jesus, with us being clothed with the risen Jesus by a faith sealed in baptism; it has everything to do with giving the new re-created man and woman in us a chance to blossom thanks to the resurrection power which God gives us in abundance. Hence, we have our baptism renewed today.
A Blessed Easter to all.
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