Homily – April 21, 2019 (Easter Sunday)

Solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection
21 April 2019

After a very powerful Lenten mission in which our speaker quoted the Lorax from Dr. Suess, I went back to the book to recapture its meaning… And I came across this quote: “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” But what if we change that ever so slightly, making it a bit more personal, so that it reads: “it’s not about WHO YOU ARE, it’s about WHO YOU can become.”

Recently I came across a brief reflection on the figure of Mary Magdalene … All four gospels place her at the foot of the cross and both gospel readings – Luke and John – place her at the tomb early in the morning … perhaps indicating that she might be the first witness of the resurrection. But who is she … St. Luke tells us that Jesus cast seven devils out of her … many scholars also place her as the woman caught in adultery – this creates a past … who is she when she encounters the Lord? She is someone who has deep wounds, humiliating sins … a person transformed by a powerful encounter with the Savior. She followed Him after her encounter, she followed Him to the cross – to the empty tomb … the encounter with the Risen Lord allowed the kingdom of God to break into her life in a new and profound way. Jesus saw in her who she could become … forever new, forever transformed, recreated by the mercy of God. Her life really began… it began new for her after that encounter.

Like Mary Magdalene we all have humiliating sins, we have wounds that run deep within our hearts … perhaps covered by years of burying them – never allowing them to see the light of day. In other words, there is a past we contend with … we have experiences that have shaped and formed our character … believers in God but perhaps afraid to let Him into the darkness because we have gotten used to it, we have become complicit with it, comfortable with who we are … but lets remember it’s not about who we are, it’s about who we can become…

Along the pathway of life, we all experience Good Friday in some way or another… yet Jesus has cast His judgment on sin, death, and suffering … His cross and resurrection proclaim that His judgment is not that of condemnation but that of love … of mercy… The stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb allows the light and the power of the resurrection to pierce this darkness. The power and grace of the resurrection does not just roll the stone away but shatters it to pieces allowing the Kingdom of God to break into our messy lives, into the things we hold on to … those things in the darkness … the light scatters the darkness and forms us anew … forever transformed and recreated by God … Easter Sunday always follows Good Friday …

What then is the message of Easter? It is that nothing is more powerful than God … that in Him we have the freedom to BE … to become the person He created … not to identify with the past, or with our sins and broken hearts … complacency, complicity, comfortableness with past … lukewarm-ness … these have no place in a person of faith. Now is the time to allow Him to break through, to have hearts open to an encounter with His grace – so powerful and so freeing … it’s not about who you are, it’s about who you can become – who you begin to be… … This is a new beginning, a new personal journey … in greater devotion, love, and yearning for the God who defeats every Good Friday with Easter Sunday. That is when life really begins … when God breaks through … when we give our hearts to Him … then do we realize it’s not about who we are, it’s about who we can become – who we begin to be…

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