Saturday, November 10, 2007

Resurrection (Homily for 32nd Ordinal Sunday)

My homily this week is the same as last week; last week, I presented it at St. Mary, this week at St. Boniface. It is a talk pitching parishioners to help the school and the parish through the SCRIP program. I didn't see it as meriting publication on my site. So, for your edification, here's a homily for this week's readings from 2004.

Let’s talk about resurrection.

What is it?

Life after death?
Yes, certainly—but something more.

In that first reading, we have the king,
trying to force people to disobey God—
And we have the faithful brothers and their mother.

The king was Greek;
They had a vague idea of life after death;
Meanwhile, their ideas about this life were very definite.
Their attitude was, basically,
“resurrection, schmesurrection—
it’s this life that counts! Period!”

That idea is still around—we call it secularism.
It says, “God, faith, Jesus? Eh!
But this world’s needs and demands?
They are what counts!”

Like those seven brothers,
We declare to the powers of this world:
The life to come is not vague and uncertain;
But God has made it known:
There will be a Resurrection.

What do we believe?
First, we believe our soul lives on after our body dies.

But you know what?
That Greek king believed that, too.

We believe something more—something astonishing:
Not only will our soul live forever;
But God will raise up our bodies again—
We’ll have them back: “new and improved”:
That’s Resurrection.

There are echoes of resurrection in our world—
But compared with what Christ promises us,
That’s all they are—echoes.

The cycle of four seasons, death and rebirth.
But when next spring comes,
It won’t be a whole new world—
But the old world, with another cycle.

A lot of people believe in that—
We call it reincarnation.

But we believe something different:
Not the same old world, over and over.
But a world made new!

We all sense this is what we really need.
Look at the election we just finished.
All the energy, all the money—all to do what?
Make things new, right?
And yet—no offense to anyone—
but what we’ll get won’t be all that new, will it?

The point? We can’t resurrect our world—
We can’t resurrect ourselves.
Only God can do that!
The classic scare story, “Frankenstein”—
that’s what it’s really about.

We can have what Christ offers—
Or we can try to pull it off only with human resources:
And we get the Frankenstein monster.

Notice how we all long for true resurrection:
Not more of the same, but something new.

For a world not polluted by evil and suffering;
For nations not divided by greed and bigotry;
For hearts not divided by sin.
We long to enjoy the goodness, without contamination,
And not just for a time, but forever!

Now, I want to emphasize how this is more
than merely believing in our soul living forever.
Sometimes we talk as though
we’ll leave our bodies behind for good.

But this world of matter, and stuff,
Of taste and touch and sight and sound,
Is not something to be escaped from.

God could have created us pure spirits, like the angels.
But that was not his design.

He created us with hands and voices to make music,
And ears to enjoy it;

He made us in a world full of pleasures and physical joys,
And the problem isn’t that we enjoy pleasure,
Only that we too often make a god of pleasure.

It is not God’s will that we escape this world,
Shaking off its dust, saying, “Good riddance!”

Rather, with Christ, we will redeem it.
Imagine: pleasure without sin;
Enjoying this world without greed or lust;
Sharing, not hoarding.

Our bodies, full of life, beyond death:
“New and improved”—
Just like Christ’s body on the first Easter!
This is Resurrection.

This means that life on earth
Is neither the the only thing that counts—
Nor is it something evil to be cast away.

For us Christians, this life is a school
to learn from Jesus Christ;
a journey to meet Christ.

That makes it pretty simple:
Our choices here matter!

Life here, with or without Christ: that is the choice.
Without Christ—resurrection holds no promise for us,
But only eternal darkness.

With Christ—shaping our choices here,
Then on the day of resurrection we’ll say,
As we sung in the psalm:
“When your glory appears, our joy will be full.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Father Fox, you certainly have a gift for couching the abstract or esoteric in terms understandable by all. I think your parishioners must find your homilies to be not merely inspiring but also highly informative. I liked it that you spoke on the resurrection of the body because too many (inc. ALOT of Catholics!) have such misinformed notions of the afterlife. So many of our fellow Catholics send around those awful forwards indicating we will all morph into angels after death. Not! I hope they are listening when you tell it like it is!

Loving this life but looking forward to the next one too,