Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Boldness of Christianity (Sunday homily)

The starting point for our reflection at Easter is the Resurrection.
Jesus Christ rose from the dead “in the flesh.”
In the Gospel: our Lord showed them his hands and his side, 
and invited Thomas to touch them.

So let’s notice that this part of our Faith is put to us--
and to the world--
as not merely a theory or a point of view, but a fact.
Which is to say, either it happened, or it didn’t; 
there’s no middle-ground.

Either astronauts landed on the moon in 1969--or they didn’t.
And, either Jesus rose from the dead, and people saw him--or not.
And if not, then Christianity is a lie. Don’t believe it!

Now, I don’t mean to suggest there’s no faith involved. There is.
My point is to identify what’s unique about the Christian Faith, 
which is that we claim there is a reality that changes everything.
God is real, God came here, became one of us,
And he has begun to change everything, starting at the Cross, 
and now through his Church: through us.

There is a boldness to the Catholic Faith!
People will ask, why does the Church ask such-and-such of me?
Why does this part of my life matter to God?
And this is why: because Christians don’t go to the world, and say,
We have a nice philosophy; we have a book of “deep thoughts.”
We go to the world to make known Jesus Christ, who changes everything!

Now, if someone says, how do I know these things are true?
We answer, the act of faith isn’t blind;
Our Faith is reasonable, 
even though it goes farther than reason alone can take us.

But because, as I said, our Faith is bold--
then the key to whether people will make that leap of faith, 
Is not so much because of the Gospels--which they may never read.
But even if they do, then they may say,
“This is a wonderful idea--too wonderful!
It’s too good to be true!”

And at that point, only one thing remains.
Will they see evidence that the impossible story really is true?
But not in the Gospels--in me! In you!

Only in each of us can people find that answer.
Only in you and me will people be able to say, “it’s true!
Christ really does change lives.
His Mercy is real; and I see that Christians actually practice it!”

The early Church started with a few hundred…then thousands…
She spread from Judea to the entire Roman Empire.
The empire tried to exterminate Christianity;
Instead, Christianity conquered pagan Rome.

Why would people join a Faith under a sentence of death?
Because they saw how great a change Christ made in people.

So I say it again; the first and only Gospel most people will read is me. And you.

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