Homily – April 17, 2022

Solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection – Easter
Year C

The word ‘remember’ is defined as the ability to recall an awareness of something, someone, that a person has seen, known, or experienced in the past. My earliest memory of attending a wake and funeral was for my Uncle Hugo …My young brain could not comprehend what exactly had happened. I remember my neighbor – Al – came and sat next to me.. he said: “Jonathan, just remember one thing … always comb your hair before bed.” And do you know, to this day, I still do! It was nonsense… but I laughed … and that was the point. To this day, its nonsense… but I laugh every time I think of it. In that moment, Al didn’t try to explain that Uncle Hugo had gone to a better place, that he was with God … he just knew I needed something that would offer some comfort. He knew exactly what to say … nonsense – words that have no meaning…

The words that the women spoke to Peter and the others sounded like nonsense, sounded like they had no meaning … but their words could not have been more rich, meaningful, real … why – because they remembered … “be ye mindful of how he speaks” are the exact words of the angelic figures to Mary and her companions. It was if, while calling to mind their experience of Him, His words, His teaching, of the things He said would happen, He was speaking to them in that moment – and it became real … so real that they just had to tell the others. But it seemed like nonsense to them … words without meaning … the actual Greek term used here by St. Luke is translated ‘oblivion’ – unconscious or unaware – nonexistent … from the Latin it means ‘forget’ … They had forgotten … they didn’t remember. Peter decides to go see for himself and only then does he come to an awareness, only then does he begin to believe … He had to experience it, see it, live, make it personal… then does it become real…

Have you ever found yourself just ‘going through the motions’? It isn’t so much a lack of belief in God but that the rituals, the teachings, all sound like gibberish … words without meaning. How many people do we know who have a view of the Catholic Church from the outside looking in, are critical, judgmental, think that what we do is empty and void of meaning … we have forgotten … we have forgotten that the empty tomb is not nonsense … Christ speaks today as much as He did on that 3rd day – Resurrection day… He speaks to us not empty words but rather words full, rich, meaningful … of life, love, forgiveness, joy … words that are spoken, communicated through ancient rites and rituals, through prayers and devotions … Can you not recall a time when this made sense? When confession made you feel like you could fly? When something Father said in a homily answered a deep question or put your mind at ease? Can’t you remember a time when the Eucharist, and the reception of Holy Communion filled your soul and heart with a sense of peace and an awareness of God’s presence in you? You see … He speaks … But often we forget …

I actually had the privilege of administering the Last Rites to Al before he died. But remembering something funny that he said to me when I was kid won’t bring Uncle Hugo back to life – it won’t be Al back to life … it’s a story for memory … but see, Peter reminds us that we must go to Christ and the empty tomb, that we must see, experience, recall … make it personal … that this act of remembering brings Christ to life in us … He comes among us with His presence … and then does faith become real … a lived reality. Worth sharing this “nonsense” with others…

Homily – April 24, 2022

There is a beautiful tradition at the North American College – the seminary I attended in Rome. At the end of a seminarian’s time – provided he has...

read more

Homily – April 14, 2022

A few months before his death Archbishop Fulton Sheen was asked in a television interview about who had been an inspiration to him. He replied that...

read more

Homily – April 3, 2022

The other day I saw a picture on the internet of a Russian missile that landed in the kitchen of a Ukrainian family. The family were all present…...

read more