Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sundayword, 22 Apr 2012

Energetic, Enthusiastic and Alert
Easter Sunday3 (22Apr 2012)
Ac 3.13-15,17-19; Ps 4; 1Jn 2.1-5a; Lk 24.35-48
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
The fifty-day Easter festival allows us to fall deeper into the mystery of our crucified and risen Messiah. Lest our spirits wilt along with petals of the lilies, we can use every reminder that our Messiah is the Living One, the author of life [humans] put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. I’d like to reflect with you on our witness.
One thing resurrection-witness is not is seeing the resurrection happen. No one saw it. The message of the empty tomb emphasizes God alone raised [Jesus] from the dead. God did not resuscitate Jesus’ corpse. Resuscitation brings back to life a person who had slipped away from life. Resuscitation isn’t resurrection.

Resurrection is an astonishing transformation. It is God’s work in and beyond time and history and beyond human knowing. The message of the appearances of risen Jesus is that people encountered the living One as truly alive and transformed beyond immediate recognition. 
The first witnesses recognized Jesus by the marks of his death in his glorious flesh. Jesus helped them to see him as a living, bodily presence: “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. They became his witnesses because he encountered them.
Risen Jesus is more powerfully present by his Spirit now that Jesus no longer appears to us in a surprising bodily form. Risen Jesus speaks to us in the word written about him. Risen Jesus consoles us in each one’s experiences of forgiveness of sins and of becoming whole. Because we are human we respond—often wordlessly yet with feeling—to risen Jesus in moments of sacrament, of hearing scripture and of community, of serving and of being served.
How have we allowed scripture’s word about Jesus speak to us? How have we welcomed it? Have we opened our hearts so Jesus may transform us? How have we tasted forgiveness, healing and growth? Our welcome of his word; our change of heart; our tastes of forgiveness of sins, healing and growing whole; and our moments of sacrament, of community, of serving and of being served are but a few ways we encounter risen Jesus. They begin and sustain our relationship with Jesus, of living his love in the world. Not to live his love, John’s letter reminded us, is to commit sin, to betray our witness, to refuse to be consoled by his Spirit.

We refuse risen Jesus’ consolation when we prefer to wallow in sadness; when we allow ourselves to be swayed by sin; when we allow the dark circumstances of the world—news headlines, failures in church, home and business—to sap our desire for transformation and for doing good. In those ways we resist risen Jesus’ consoling transformation of our hearts and minds, our spirits and our bodies. The enemy of our human nature uses dark circumstances of the world to distract us from the gladness risen Jesus desires to plant in [each] heart. Risen Jesus transforms and accompanies us giving us his gladness so we may be light in the world’s darkness. The more we allow risen Jesus to accompany us in word, sacrament, community, service and in being served, the more energetic, enthusiastic and alert apostolic witnesses we become.
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Desire to feel recreated by our triune God.
  • Ask the disciples to welcome you and present you to Jesus. 
  • Converse with Jesus: ask Jesus to open your mind to understand the Scriptures and others’ testimony to him; tell Jesus your desire to be a more energetic, enthusiastic and alert apostle of his resurrection by how you live and work.
  • Name what holds you back and place it in Jesus’ hands to transform it into grace for you.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. To request our daily bread is an empty request until we give our Redeemer what keeps us from making room for his consoling, divine gifts.
Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

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