by: Fr. Scott Karnik
Homily for Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018
“He saw and he believed.” The big scene is the empty tomb: initially. Quite frankly, now that Jesus has risen from the dead at Easter, the big scene shifts to a believer: John the Evangelist. Peter is perplexed by what he sees. John sees and believes, with very little evidence. Jesus’s body is gone. They see the burial wrappings and the face napkin rolled up neatly to one side, and nothing more than that. John chooses to believe while seeing very little. John believes with little evidence.
There is a reason why John believes with little evidence. It is because of his intense love for Jesus Christ. Intensity of love leads to instant belief, instant faith. That same love will enable John to recognize Jesus when others do not. Body snatchers had not removed Jesus from His tomb. John perceives the truth immediately. John the Evangelist is the shining example of how we must love Jesus Christ. What a great opportunity we have to do that by coming to Holy Mass and receiving Jesus Christ lovingly into our souls by Holy Eucharist-His Body, His Blood, His graces, His Sacred Heart, in each of us because we love Him so much we will obey Him and become like Him.
St. Paul explains this in his letter to the Colossians. He says the Christians there have been raised with Jesus Christ. They’re freed from serving cosmic and pagan powers. But this freedom brings responsibility. They have duties and responsibilities to uphold. One major one is to seek what is above, not what is below. Jesus Christ is above, seated in a place of honor at God’s right hand. St. Paul wants Christians to install Jesus in the place of honor in one’s soul. Another is to avoid concerns about worldly, non-spiritual matters. In baptism, they have died to all of that. They arise, a new creation with a share in the risen life of Christ. Do not become lost in earthly occupations.
In the first reading from Acts, St. Peter is the leader of this Church of Jesus Christ. He speaks to the household of a Roman centurion, Cornelius. Cornelius is a Gentile and a pagan. Peter’s message to them is the Good News. Jesus Christ is a Savior. That is authenticated by Jesus’s words and deeds. And God accepts both Jews and Gentiles who act rightly. God is impartial. The one who fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to God. Jesus Christ is Lord of all and all who believe in Jesus will receive forgiveness of their sins and salvation. The apostles are witnesses to this, to Him. All who are in the right dispositions are acceptable and are capable of receiving God’s gifts and God’s forgiveness. This is true regardless of nationality.
This is God’s saving plan. Jesus Christ, God’s Own Son, brings us salvation through everything He did during this Easter Triduum. Holy Mother Church, in Her infinite wisdom, points out that all of Jesus’s acts from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday unite to save us. If there is no Eucharist, there is no Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to restore us to sanctifying grace. If there is no death on the Cross, there is no atoning sacrifice for our sins. If there is no blood shed, our sins are not washed away by His corresponding graces. If there is no resurrection, there is no eternal life.
So therefore, what should we know? That God loves us so much that He sacrificed His Only Begotten Son on Calvary to save us. He gave us eternal life in Jesus’s Resurrection from the dead. Jesus has given us His Body and Blood in Eucharist, to unite us with Him in sanctifying grace. All of this is in the Easter Triduum and in God’s salvific plan. What must we do? We must develop a deep, intense, personal love for Jesus Christ. Do attend Holy Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. Do receive Jesus Christ’s forgiveness of sins in Confession and all of the graces He wishes to give you in Eucharist, Holy Communion, His very own Real Presence. Set our souls on the spiritual priorities which are above and turn away from the material and sinful concerns which are below. And why should we care on this Easter Sunday? We should care because God the Father has loved us so much that He has actually lavished His Forgiveness, His Love, and His Mercy on us. God the Father has indulged us with salvation by the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, His Own Son, His Only Begotten Son, in whom He is well-pleased, Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ loves us so much that He accepted lovingly His part in this salvific plan, which has been completed. Nothing else is needed. Satan, sin, and death are defeated. God the Father and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, love us so much that they are absolutely convinced that each one of us, no matter how wretched, how sinful, how horrible we are, is worth saving. He refuses to believe anything else.
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