Sunday, March 23, 2008

Something New (Easter Homily)

My message today could be summed up as,
“Something old, and something new.”

The two women in the Gospel saw Jesus suffer and die.
Cruel and unjust deaths aren’t new; not then, not now.
The women in the Gospel return to finish the burial rites
they’d started on Friday evening. Nothing new in that.

Angels showing up? That’s pretty special; but even that isn’t new.

A dead body disappears with no natural explanation?
That is something new.
A dead man come back to life—
Not to the previous life, but life on a whole new level.
That is something new.

Jesus came out of that grave, not a ghost,
but a flesh-and-blood body that would never die again.
We know his body had remarkable properties:
They didn’t always recognize him;
He passed through locked doors;
And yet he still bore his wounds;
And, he still ate ordinary food with them.

We don’t know how to describe this new life;
But maybe we don’t have to.
Jesus came back and showed it to us.

This “something new” is what all this is about:
our faith, our rituals, our prayers,
going to Mass each Sunday,
the laws God gave us to live by,
the sacraments that sanctify our beginning, our ending,
and everything in between.

It all only has meaning if something new really happened that first Easter:
Something people like us witnessed,
Didn’t always believe at first, but they came around,
And finally they died rather than deny it:

But there’s still something else.

You and I don’t build a faith,
and we don’t die for that faith,
because something wonderful and new
happened for someone else!

This all makes sense
only if that something new is for us, too!

You and I live in the brilliant light
of this “something new,” resurrection life.
It’s the light of a new creation: not all can see it,
but when we live in that light,
everything looks very different.
That’s why we Christians live by different values—
we don’t live the way our world around us does.

And Resurrection isn’t just a promise for the future.
Resurrected life, life made new,
has broken into our world.
That happened when he came out of the tomb,
then 50 days later, he poured out his Holy Spirit,
and a beach-head of heaven was established on earth.

That’s us, brothers and sisters:
we’re the “something new”:
“The Church,” the Body of Christ, that’s us.

That we face pain, and our bodies die,
That’s something old.
That our world suffers because of human sin,
that’s old—and all too familiar.

But that all that can go to the cross—
that all that can go down into the waters of baptism,
and we are born again, with eternity in view…
that Christ takes our death, and makes it life!
That’s new, brothers and sisters, that’s new!

Christ takes the bread of human sorrow
and the wine of human hope—and he takes us—
and he breathes his Spirit on us,
and we become new…we become Him!
We’re the “what’s new,” and we’re the world’s hope!

This something new is still new after 2,000 years!
The world still needs hope…more than ever—because so many think hope
is either a false promise or a political platform.
It is neither; hope is what Jesus Christ gave us,
And we, in turn, offer it to the world:
you can be made clean—you can be made new!

You’ve heard the Message.
Through Lent and this Mass, we’ve told the Story;
For most, it’s a re-telling; for some, it’s brand-new.

But now we’ve heard.
In a moment, I’ll ask you: Do you believe?
Will you take his Body and Blood,
Not only his Life for you, but your life for him?
Do you believe that much?

Then, when Mass is ended, and we go…
we’re the Message—we’re the Hope—
We’re the Something New.
The world needs us. Do you believe?


Anonymous said...

Anything borrowed or blue ...?

Anonymous said...

WOW! Terrific homily!