Easter Sunday Homily ©, April 21st, 2019:
The Easter Sunday readings today all speak “past tense” about Jesus Christ’s life, passion, death, and resurrection. Their effect is unification of all peoples to the cornerstone, which was first rejected by the builders.
In Psalm 118, the author writes a thanksgiving hymn after a victory. This psalm was recited or sung upon entry into the Temple. The key is verse 22: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Then verse 23 continues: “By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.” What is insignificant has become great through divine election. Some bible commentators say the stone is the Hebrew nation, which the Gentiles scorned. But God raised Israel to conspicuous glory, during King Solomon’s reign. The queen of Sheba came to Israel to listen to Solomon’s wisdom. The temple was built through the help of King Hiram of Tyre. He was an ally of Solomon and Solomon’s father, David. Hiram supplied money, materials, and masons to help build the temple that would house God’s presence. So Gentiles had their fingerprints on God’s House in Jerusalem by helping the Jews build it. That is important. Jesus Christ Himself uses this psalm to describe Himself. Jesus Christ is the Jewish Messiah. He applies this verse to His own rejection by the Jews and His exaltation by God His Father. The victory has been won. Jesus Christ has lived, died, and has risen from the dead. Jesus is our Savior.
St. Paul tells the Colossians that they have been resurrected too with Christ at baptism. In their baptism, they died a mystical death and have been raised to new life. They are free but St. Paul tells them to use their newfound freedoms responsibly. To live in Christ means to act, to love, and to think and not to be enslaved to worldly, material matters. You are free of them. St. Paul tells the Colossian church that they will be revealed in glory when Christ is revealed in glory at the judgment. St. Paul says that the Christian church hopes for Jesus’s return in glory. This is part of Christian belief. St. Paul writes all of this past tense because Jesus has already lived, died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and has sent the Holy Spirit on His Church. St. Paul says the Colossians’ new life should be one long lifting up of their hearts to the Lord, until they are united with Christ at His revelation in glory.
St. Peter preaches the Christian message to Cornelius. Cornelius is a Roman centurion, a Gentile. St. Peter preaches to this Gentile and his household that Jesus Christ is lord of all, both Jews and Gentiles alike. St. Peter tells Cornelius about Jesus’s ministry, death, resurrection, His commissioning of His Apostles. St. Peter finishes his speech by recalling the Old Testament prophets who proclaim that all (Jews and Gentiles) who believe in Jesus Christ will have their sins forgiven in His name.
St. Peter tells Cornelius that God is impartial. God’s choice of Israel as His chosen nation does not mean that God has withheld divine favor from other men. St. Peter says that God’s plan for mankind’s destiny is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. Jesus’s ministry is integral to our salvation. Jesus’s ministry is so important that we bear Jesus Christ’s presence in the seven sacraments that He has revealed in our church, for the salvation of each and every one of us, Jew and Gentile alike. That is the important message. We are all unified in the person of Jesus Christ, who has risen from the dead, seated at God’s right hand, from there He shall come in glory to judge the living and the dead. His mystical body is the new temple, not made by human hands. He is the cornerstone and on this Easter Sunday, we are to be living stones in faithful contact with Jesus’s Temple, His mystical Body, the Church. This is the new life we lead, thanks to Jesus Christ’s personhood, mission, and ministry. Jesus unifies us, Jew and Gentile alike in love. Now sin will not reign in our hearts. Jesus will, if we let Him. Praised by the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.
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