EASTER SUNDAY - April 21, 2019 (Thoman)

Acts 10:34a, 37-43 | Col 3:1-4 | Jn 20:1-9

I. Take a moment to reflect upon the pathways of your life journey – whether your
life span is relatively brief - or seasoned and matured….

What has happened?

What have been the highpoints, the joys, the
accomplishments, the goals achieved?

And perhaps more helpful for our reflection today…what have been the low
points, the challenges, the problems, the disappointments, the heart breaks, even
feelings of despair and hopelessness?

II. And how have you managed all those issues? What are the principles you use to
solve problems? What are the attitudes that color the way you look at the world?
What works? What doesn’t?
As you know, every life journey has it’s challenges: how to respond….

  • when we lose our job?
  • when we’ve worked hard for an academic goal and we abandon the attempt
  • when we’ve aimed for a new career and it doesn’t work out
  • when we are the victim of betrayal in friendship – as Jesus experienced in so many ways this Holy Week
  • when we lose a loved through death – our mother, our father, our spouse, a child…
  • when family members undermine us and cause disharmony in the famil
  • when others harm our good name through gossip and half-truths
  • when we experience serious illness or injury due to accidents
  • when a loved battles serious illness or terminal illness
  • and when we have to deal with the ordinary stresses of every day living: the expected and normal tasks of work, keeping a household going, supporting everyone who needs our support

How do we do that? What attitudes do we form within ourselves to give us a balanced perspective on life’s issues? What are the specific tools we use to solve problems? How do we emotionally support ourselves when our hearts are broken through extreme betrayal…tragedies…and death of a loved one?

III. The response, of course, from a Christian and Catholic perspective is our faith
which is the gift of the Resurrection we celebrate today. Faith is the number
one resource we use to form those attitudes…to find those principles for sound
moral decision making…to find the strength we need to deal with the emotional
traumas of life. We need to lean into our Resurrection faith.

But actually doing that is a learned experience we develop and nurture over a
lifetime. It takes awhile. That’s true for us as it was for those first witnesses of
the Resurrection. Consider the experience of those first witnesses:

  • both Luke and Mark tell us the women went to tell the others who were
    weeping and grieving, but they would not believe Mary Magdalene and the
    others: they thought it was utter nonsense.
  • John tells us that even Mary Magdalene, returning to the tomb a second time
    didn’t even recognize Jesus: she thought it was the gardener
  • the disciples on the road to Emmaus walked with Jesus probably several
    miles and didn’t even know who they were talking with! Only in the
    breaking of the bread did they recognize him as Jesus.
  • Thomas refused to believe. “Unless I can put my finger in the nail marks and
    my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Jesus appears to Thomas and
    challenges him to do just that. Then he says, “Blessed are those who have not
    seen and have believed.”
  • and at one point, Peter was so turned around he decided just to take off and
    go fishing!

Coming to faith – even for the disciples who were right there with Jesus – took
time. It was a gradual process moving forward. As disciple of Jesus, it is a process
we must engage in as well – as we grow and mature in the faith.

  • eventually we must learn that Jesus truly is the Light of the World. There is
    no other light – no pop culture fad, no new philosophy – that will illuminate
    the path of life better than the guidance of Jesus. None! No light shines
    brighter, more clearly, more surely than the light of Jesus
  • with life experience we come to realize Jesus is the Good Shepherd who
    walks with us every step of the way, especially when we must walk through
    the dark valleys of despair, loneliness, trials and tribulations.
  • with maturity we come to appreciate Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life.
    Jesus’ way is the way of self-giving, sacrificial love. Jesus Truth are his
    teachings keeping us on the straight and narrow path of life. Jesus’ life is his
    friendship and love burning in our hearts. That friendship we know will
    never go away.

IV. In a few moments we renounce our sin – and we profess our faith. We renounce
the lure of sin…the empty promises…the foolish temptations placed in front.
And we profess the life saving faith whose promise is sure and certain leading to
happiness in this life and in the next.

V. The conjunction of spring and Easter are perfect this year! With the wicked
winter behind us…the earth slowly warming…temperatures in the 70s and 80s…the
new life of spring is ready to pop out all over – probably this Easter week! Trees
and bushes and flowers will burst with new life. Nature itself teaches us the birth of
new life from death.

As we witness the transformation of nature all around us, may our
Resurrection faith transform us, enabling us to move forward in life with a renewed
confidence, a deepened hope and a joyful heart.

Jesus Christ is risen! Alleluia!

(Fr. Dwayne Thoman)