Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday word, 23 Mar 2008

1 Easter SundayA (23 Mar 2001) Ac 10. 34a, 37-43; Col 3. 1-4; Mt 28.1-10
Homily of Rev. Paul Panaretos, S. J.
Happy Easter!

I wish you the blessings of the Risen Lord, especially to those visiting and worshiping with us today. I want us to reflect on the centerpiece of our faith, the resurrection of Jesus. To help you I want to teach you some Hebrew. It’s very easy, this Easter lesson. I want to teach you how to say Praise the Lord! in Hebrew. It’s only one word: Alleluia! Say it. Each time I say, PTL! you say it in Hebrew. PTL! Say it with Easter feeling: PTL! Now we’re ready.

Let’s focus on the first ones to go to the tomb, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. They went to Jesus’ tomb and did not find things as they expected. PTL! They expected a tightly closed tomb set in solid earth, but the earth quaked and an angel opened the tomb, PTL! They expected a corpse, and they met an angelic messenger, instead. PTL! The angel’s glory stunned the guard.

The women expected to finish their customary burial action, but they grew amazed and alarmed instead. They expected to whisper in reverent tones to each other, and all they witnessed stunned and frightened them; but they were not frightened to death. PTL!

The angel reassured them and transformed them into apostles, people sent to announce the greatest Good News PTL! Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’ PTL! They departed quickly not completely shedding their fear, and they encountered Jesus, truly risen, PTL! who changed their fear into boldness to proclaim him, PTL!

We’re a lot like the two Marys. They didn’t understand. We’re not able to understand the empty tomb any better. Our purpose is to live wholeheartedly, not go through life as if we were wooden and cold. Scripture, church- living and sharing faith together warm our hearts, purify our intentions and guide our acting. Living wholeheartedly is a challenge many of us here glady undertake, PTL!

We truly are a lot like the women at Jesus’ tomb, PTL! They expected to see the corpse of their Lord and finish anointing his body. But there was no dead body of Jesus to anoint as they expected PTL! Holy Spirit raised Jesus, PTL!

We Christians serve one another and the world when we get up each day and expect to see Holy Spirit at work. A friend calls this expectation of God’s unexpected energy miracle watching. Easter celebrates our Christian iden-tity as miracle watchers without ceasing. We are miracle watchers, PTL! My purpose, our purpose, is beholding the unfolding of God’s miracles in everyone. No easy task, and the two Marys went to death’s door to behold the greatest miracle. PTL!

We are so very much like the two Marys. They arrived to see a corpse but encountered a heavenly messenger instead. PTL! Now let’s be real: not about heavenly messengers; they are very, very real. Let us be real and honest about ourselves.

If we saw a heavenly messenger, no doubt we’d be amazed; no doubt we’d be alarmed about our own sanity. And we wouldn’t tell anyone because we would be afraid: afraid of what people would think; afraid of what people would say about us; afraid of how people would treat us; afraid that we would have lost our futures. How so very like the two Marys at Jesus’ tomb: they left the tomb quickly with fear....

In the face of the miracle, with all its other-worldliness, the Marys did not drown in their fear, PTL! The Marys let go their terror, PTL! They found their voices, PTL! And finding, they became the angel’s echo and Jesus’ voice: go, tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me: PTL! Yes!

Others have echoed heaven’s Easter-messenger down to 10:30AM, March 23, 2008. That’s why we’re here, can be here at all PTL! How the Marys overcame their fear we cannot know. We can only know our own fears. Overcoming their fear, moving through it, was the most impor-tant work of their lives. Their most important work they did before they died: they believed & faith eclipsed their fear PTL! They encountered Jesus again and again PTL! They lived, moved, witnessed and rested in Holy Spirit PTL!

Their second important work the women left us to do: not just to believe; not just to live in awe of Holy Spirit’s loving power rather than our own; not just to be miracle watchers who take into our hearts more than the unexpected. The women’s legacy--our work--is to tell each other and the world that the Lord Jesus lives and goes ahead of us and remains with us even when we do not feel his presence. PTL!

Easter, friends, celebrates the work of the two Marys. Easter celebrates the work begun by our baptism. Our work is to PTL!: PTL! in speech; PTL! in action; PTL! in worship; PTL! in illness; PTL! in rest; and to PTL! with our deaths. Easter commits us to do our work well so that others will put aside even great things and echo what we have seen and heard and believe. PTL! for University Heights is become Galilee. PTL! for Holy Spirit given to us. PTL! because we are the voices of the Risen Jesus. PTL!
Wiki-images of della Francesca's Resurrection is in the public domain.

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