Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Resurrection, Continued

(2 Easter, C)

Brothers and sisters, we arrive at “octave” of Easter, the eighth day of the Easter season. Having first celebrated the good news of Jesus’ resurrection last Sunday, the readings and prayers today invite us to drill a little deeper into the mystery. Who is this risen Jesus? What does He do? Where can He be found?

The answer to that last question is simple to say, but not so simple to understand and accept. For the risen Lord is right here. He is the eternal life living in each of us who are baptized into his death and resurrection. When each of us descended into the water on the day of our baptism, we went down into his death. When we came up again, we rose in the resurrection of Christ. We became newborn parts of the risen, human body of Christ. When we receive Holy Communion here at Sunday Mass, we receive Him whom we are, and the eternal life within us in nourished and fortified. When the minister of Holy Communion says to us, “The Body of Christ,” he is addressing us by name, calling us by our deepest identity.

If the presence of Christ risen from the dead lives and breathes in our humanity through our baptism and Holy Communion, then our ordinary behavior will resemble the historical, human life of Jesus. Simply put, we will do what Jesus did. This is what we hear in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles today. Peter and the apostles were at the Temple curing a great number of people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits. The healing ministry of Jesus not only continues in them, but is multiplied in them. This is the mission for which we are sent by the risen Lord in the gospel today, when he breathes the Spirit on the disciples. In his resurrection, Jesus hands over his mission to us, that we, in our lives, might continue and multiply his work of healing, reconciliation, and proclamation of the Kingdom of God to the world. This is what it means for us to be the Body of Christ we become at each Sunday Eucharist; in the simplest terms, we are to be Jesus for one another and the world. The mission of Jesus is risen into our faith and action; this is the fruit of resurrection.

Now, this sounds great, but maybe it’s all a little abstract. How do we get started on our vocation as the risen Body of Christ, the healing presence of Jesus in the world? How do we come to experience it, to really believe it? For this we have our dear friend Thomas in the gospel today. He comes to that perfect confession of faith, “My Lord and my God!” after he puts he puts his fingers and hand into the wounds of Jesus Christ. If we want to truly know the risen Lord, brothers and sisters, we must do the same thing. First, we must put our hands into Christ’s wounds by bringing our own hurts and betreyals, griefs and injuries into our prayer. Jesus has united these personal sufferings of ours to his own suffering on the Cross, and by embracing them we find Him. He has made our wounds His own. By offering our own pain, and allowing Jesus to unite it to His Passion, we come to know ourselves as people whom God is dying to save.

Through this kind of prayer, we get to know ourselves as people saved by our incorporation into the Body of Christ. We are then empowered to go out and get our hands dirty and blessed by putting them into the suffering of others, into the lives of all of the poor, sick, and lonely of our neighborhoods and our world. When we encounter the suffering Christ in others, we too will know the great confession of faith welling up from within: “My Lord and my God!” We will become the Presence of the risen Lord for each other, members of the risen Body of Christ.

1 comment:

4narnia said...

beautiful and very inspiring homily, Fr. C! thank you! PAX! ~tara t~