Saturday, April 03, 2021

Christ or Nothing (Easter homily)

 If you are over the age of 40, you may not realize 

just how much the world you see around you 

is not the world those under 20 experience.

I know what you are thinking: but it’s the same world! It is indeed.

However: what is different for a growing number of people, 

especially those who are younger, 

is that more and more people are coming to distrust 

the world around them. 

To doubt more deeply what seems to be real. 

To give up on thinking the world can make sense.

In the 1960s, holding up two fingers like this was “the peace sign.”

In the 1980s, a lot of people had tee shirts 

with a big smiley face that said, “Have a nice day.”

More recently it is the “Coexist” bumper sticker, 

with lots of religious symbols side-by-side.

But I think the symbolic gesture 

that best defines the times ahead is the shrug,

which means, who knows, and who cares?

It’s the exact same sentiment of Pontius Pilate,

when Jesus stood before him, said, “What is truth?”

So if you’re in your 20s or younger, I want to talk to you.

What do people say: “Everyone has his own truth”?

This is the safe thing to say.

But if there are eight billion different “truths” in the world,

For each human soul, then there is no solid truth at all;

And that is a dark world indeed – closed off from hope.

And I ask you: is that really the world you live in?

When you turn the key, why do you assume the car will start?

If you let go of a book, why do you expect it will fall?

And the answer is simple: Truth Exists!

There are those – and they are everywhere –

who seek to confuse us: 

who tell us that male and female aren’t real,

and to say that 2 + 2 = 4 is oppression,

who want to convince you that there is no place to soar,

no foundations to discover beneath us.

They tell us, all that matters are our own desires – 

which we satisfy for a time, and then we are gone.

The meaning of what we do here tonight is this:

You and I will not be seduced, silenced, or defeated:

God is real; this is his world, and you and I belong to Him!

No matter what may discourage you: think of the Cross.

Consider the humiliation of the Son of God, compared with yours?

How triumphant his executioners seemed!

How hopeless his cause must have seemed – no one would listen!

Now, of course, there is a whisper, you can hear it, admit it:

The voice says, “But it’s all fantasy: it’s all made up!”

Really? And why would the Apostles make up this story?

More to the point: why would each of them, one by one, 

face a terrible death for a lie they, themselves, invented?

The choice you and I face is not – as many claim – 

between a God who oppresses us, 

and setting ourselves free to be anything we want.

It might seem so at first; but it is a fraud! 

If there is no Savior, no Truth, no God that exists apart from me,

then all I have is “my truth,” which is no more solid than I am!

And I am locked in the prison of myself, and there is no key.

But thanks be to God that though they tried to seal Jesus in the tomb, they could not! 

He has risen from the dead!

Jesus lives! He is real! 

And he gives each of us a task – not an easy one, 

it was never easy – but it is important: it’s to share in his mission of saving souls.

Nothing is more important!

Tonight we gather in darkness, but we each had a light;

I don’t mean the candles: I mean the light of our own faith, 

Which may not seem like much, but it is ours, 

and we can let it fade; or let the Holy Spirit keep it burning,

and when fed by God’s Fire, nothing can put it out!

Tonight, _________ is going to be baptized.

You don’t have a lit candle yet, because that it is in baptism

That the Light of Christ is given to you for the first time.

And before you can be baptized, you make a choice.

I’ll ask you some questions in a moment, in the back,

But I’ll explain those questions right now:

Do you choose the darkness that has no meaning, 

with Satan as the king of that realm? 

Or do you choose Jesus Christ, who gives you light, who is the Light, 

and who – beginning in baptism and with all the sacraments,

all the way till heaven, is going to turn You into his Light?

To be a saint is to be made Light, a sharer in all Jesus is?

The rest of us have this moment to remember our baptism, 

and whether we made the most of Lent, 

or else we just wandered in here, today:

What do we choose?

Xave, I want to thank you for giving each of us a good example.

And I want to invite you sometime to make a trip down to Piqua, 

and visit St. Boniface Church there. 

To the right side of the altar, you’ll see a picture of a boy, 

a little older than you, but a lot like you.

He was from Mexico and his name was Jose Sanchez.

And like you’re doing tonight, he chose to follow Jesus Christ.

Only you should know that he paid a huge price for his faith.

They took his life; but he knew they really couldn’t,

Because the Light of Christ in him, no one can take away!

And his last words before entering heaven were, “Viva Christo Rey!”

Christ the King LIVES!


rcg said...

The open tomb is going to more important than ever. As Christianity is buried under the weight of non-belief whether cynicism, so-called proofs, or ecumenical relativism, the Truth will break free to proclaim itself. We must continue to seek it even when it is hidden.

Unknown said...

“The world,” John Paul II said, is the theater of an endless battle that replays the apocalyptic conflict of death against life..” Can it be that “conscience is losing the ability to tell right from wrong? Truth is not a figment of the individual imagination.”