Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday word, 15 Apr 2012

Water and Blood
Easter Sunday2 (15 Apr 2012)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
I once closed a retreat on the Second Easter Sunday. I told the retreatants that after basking in God’s love they prepared to return to the blood, sweat and tears of daily life. I joined that phrase with Jesus so that whenever they used it or heard it again it could be a portal of grace for them. I offer you that as well.
Holy Week reminded us that in Jesus the Trinity poured their divinity into our humanity. Jesus was God in our flesh, sharing our human condition. The First Letter of John pointed us in the direction of that truth: This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. To help us appreciate more this stunning truth, the Letter to the Hebrews elaborated: In the days when he was in the flesh, [Jesus] offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.1

We easily forget Jesus was one with our humanity. That Jesus sweat and wept tears may astonish, even scandalize people more sharply. Indeed, Jesus came through water: Jesus experienced our humanity fully and completely. To reflect on Jesus questions us: do we give ourselves fully to our humanity? or do we live it only partially?
In baptism we died with Messiah Jesus and rose with him in his Easter life. So we, too, came through water. Jesus was baptized by John. Jesus’ baptism assured him of his mission as Messiah to save the human race. Our baptisms in Jesus also question us: how fully do we live our baptismal union with Jesus? How much of ourselves do we hold back?
Jesus did not hold back. Jesus gave himself to his mission. Jesus’ mission led to giving his life even though it led to a disgraceful death. Yet Jesus Christ [came], not by water alone, but by water and blood. His cries and tears were not a sham, nor were they for show. They flowed from him because he gave his life for us completely in death. God did not prevent his death, but God transformed his corpse into the source of life for all people.
One reason, a striking one, for our tears and perspiration is fear. Our fear severely impairs our spirits, the health of our emotions and our bodies. Human fear does more. Human fear, as the gospel noted in a phrase easy to miss, locks doors. Fear walls out others, and it keeps us from giving ourselves. The one who was dead and now more alive than anyone or anything, Jesus, is not only greater than fear, he is the bringer of peace and the cause of rejoicing.
Risen Jesus came in water: his baptism began the joy of his mission of announcing the reign of God. Joy registers also as tears of relief and delight, which the apostles knew before we did. Risen Jesus also came in blood for he bore the marks of his death. Not only did he want Thomas to touch his wounds,
risen Jesus wants us to touch his wounds with our believing and our behavior. We, who have reentered the world in the water of our baptism, are called to join our lives to our Messiah’s mission by sharing  our faith and working for the common good of all.
Our reentry in water cannot be repeated. Baptized Jesus calls us to enter the world each day, giving ourselves to the power of his Spirit. Risen Jesus is more powerfully present by his Spirit. The apostles demonstrated that because they were more powerful witnesses after Risen Jesus no longer appeared to them: with great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Their witness was their leadership.

That none was in need among them authorized their spiritual leadership. That took their blood, sweat and tears. Jesus continues to come through the water of our tears and sweat as well as the blood of our life projects. Jesus’ blood, sweat and tears, culminating in the week of his passion, graced the world with the power of his Spirit and the joy of his risen life. Each day we live is the day the Lord has made [for us to] be glad and rejoice.
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week

  • Bask in the love of the Trinity creating you.
  • Ask the apostles to present you to Jesus.
  • In your words, praise Jesus for dying and rising for you.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to live your humanity and your baptismal vocation fully.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Praying his prayer sanctifies our blood, sweat and tears, and it infuses them with evangelizing power for our sakes and the sake of our world.
Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. Hebrews 5.7.


Wiki-images of Jesus wept and of  Jesus appearing to Thomas were released by the copyright holders into the public domain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the Breaking of the Bread

I think this is a beautiful music video.