Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Homily Easter Sunday 2009

Click on title for audio.

Christ is risen! Indeed He risen! Alleluia!

In the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the Church exults in glory,
the whole earth rejoices in shining splendor,
and the hearts of all believers resound with praise!

In the Resurrection of Christ, is put to ; life is given new meaning;
those who once were captured by sin and lost in darkness
are now bathed in splendid light
and washed clean in the sacramental life of the Church
which flowed from the pierced side
of the Crucified and now Risen savior!

O joy of joys! O mystery of mysteries! O solemnity of solemnities!
This is truly the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Our Catholic celebration of the Paschal Mystery began with Holy Thursday,
commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus on the eve of His Passion,
which, as a devout Jew, He celebrated in the context of the Passover.
The moment in which He instituted the Holy Eucharist and the Sacred Priesthood
was also for Him a celebration of God’s gracious will for His people Israel,
as He delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

The Passover is celebrated by eating a meal of lamb, bitter herds,
and unleavened bread.
Pious Jews discard all leavened bread and eat only unleavened bread for seven days,
because it is said that their ancestors left Egypt in such haste,
that there was no time even for the bread to rise.

Also, in the ancient world, yeast was a proverbial symbol of evil and corruption,
because its mysterious action of making bread rise
had a sinister element about it.

So, in times of purification and celebration,
Jews search out and discard all yeast and bread that has undergone leavening.

As we rejoice in the glorious resurrection of Christ, the Paschal Lamb of God,
who was sacrificed, and who has risen triumphant from the grave,
we consider as Christians the meaning of this unleavened bread.

Saint Paul writes about the spiritual meaning of leavening to the Corinthians,
in response to disorder and inconsistencies in the Church at Corinth,
at a time when public sinners were corrupting the community.

He challenges the faithful there to discard everything that spoils the community,
all that is evil and distracts the focus of believers away from Christ.

On this most sacred of all mornings, we rejoice in the Passover of the Lamb of God,
that holy night when we were saved not from the oppression of earthly rulers
but from slavery to the corruption of sin.
On this morning filled with profundity and awash in brilliance,
we consider how the old leaven of sin gives way to new life in the Risen Christ.
The Resurrection of Jesus transforms life and gives it new meaning.
Because Jesus rose from the , we are filled with hope
and life for us who believe is different from the way the rest of the world lives.

Experiencing the new life that Christ brings by His Passion and Resurrection
necessarily demands radical change…
that is…change at the root and the core of life…
and complete conversion…
turning deliberately away from sin and toward the Risen Christ.
Baptism in the early Church included a ritual that expressed this total conversion:
catechumens physically turned westward and denounced Satan
and then turned toward the East…toward the rising Sun and new life…
and professed faith in the Risen Jesus.

Conversion and embracing new life in Christ, as Saint Paul writes,
means searching out and purging all the old leaven of corruption and sin
and consuming the unleavened…uncorrupted…bread of sincerity and truth.

For the universal Church, this purification sometimes means disciplining
flagrant public sinners and wayward Church institutions
whose inconsistency confuses and corrupts.

While our president and civil leaders deserve respect because of their office,
their consistent pattern of actively promoting policies that attack human life
is in opposition to the values of the Gospel of Jesus
and therefore is incompatible with the mission of the Church.
When tolerance devolves into indifference
and when exceptions to the Gospel are made for political expediency
one ounce of old leaven corrupts the entire batch.

Those who have faith, and especially those who lead in faith,
have the responsibility to clarify and to make distinctions,
and at times…painfully…this means cutting off from ecclesial support
those who divide and corrupt the community of faith.

For us personally, this purification means searching out and discarding
every trace of the old leaven of corruption and sin.

The agonizing self-gift of Jesus on the Cross and the glory of His resurrection
speak eloquently to us a message of true love and of new life
and compel us to respond in a life of consistency and dedication to Christ.

In the Letter to the Corinthians, Paul calls us to consistency and purity of heart.

We are called as Christians made new in the light of Christ
to empty ourselves of sinful ways
to reject anything that might lead us away from God
and to clothe ourselves in the life of Christ revealed to us in the Church.

This means following God’s plan for human life, love, and relationship,
spending time each day in quiet prayer and attending weekly Mass
studying the faith and living it in vibrant witness to Christ
and reaching out to others as the hands and feet of Jesus in our world.
This new life made possible in the Resurrection is shared by all who believe
and is offered to all human persons.
Thus, we are called to follow Christ as the exemplar of Christian life,
and to share that life with those whom we meet.

Just as a tiny bit of fresh yeast, which for us today is no longer sinister,
can leaven a whole loaf of bread,
so the life of one Christian soul can effect and transform many.

As we come forward to receive the pure, unleavened, Bread of Life,
the Body of Jesus Christ,
may we resolve to purge ourselves of the old leaven of sin
and embrace the challenge to be pure leaven in the midst of the world,
calling all people to sincerity and truth.

Praised be to the risen Christ! Now and forever!

No comments: