Homily – The Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection

Homily Ė The Mass of the Lords Resurrection
Today we celebrate defeat of sin and the possibility of salvation for all of us. We do so by listening attentively to the word of God, allowing its power to affect our lives because as God says his word will not depart from him and return void. What we have just heard is Godís word speaking to us through the centuries and millennia. From the very beginning God made and fashioned us into his image to have a relationship with him. He has never stopped seeking us even though many have refused to listen. It is the nature of love not to give up.
The readings of Easter Vigil tell that story. There are nine readings that take us from the beginning to the summit of Salvation History. In them we hear of Godís faithfulness to his people, his constant concern, his calling to us throughout the ages.
We begin with the creation of man out of Godís overflowing love. We were not created because God needed us. We were created so that God could love us. But shortly after creation man refused that love and sin and death entered the world.
God reestablished his covenant, his family bond, with man through Abraham. Abrahamís faith was so great that he was willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a holocaust or a sin offering. Thousands of years ago God was planting the seeds of our redemption. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son as an offering for our sins. Like Isaac Christ would carry the wood of his sacrifice on his back in the form of the cross. God would not stay his hand but let him be delivered unto death. Abraham told Isaac that God himself would provide the lamb for the sin offering. Indeed he did: The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Godís promise to Abraham was also fulfilled in that all nations were blessed through the Jesus a descendant of Abraham. All this because you obeyed my command, words spoken not only to Abraham but to Christ across the span of centuries. Through Christís obedience we are blessed with salvation. Where Adam was disobedient and brought death, Christ, the new Adam brings life through obedience.
Through manís disobedience we were made slaves to sin as the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. And Moses led them out of slavery into the promised land through the waters of the Red Sea. So to Christ leads us out of slavery to sin through the waters of Baptism. Moses stretched out his hand and the waters of the Red sea flowed back upon the Egyptians. Christ stretched out his arm on the cross and the red sea of blood and water flowed from his side and buried sin beneath an ocean of mercy. The Lord saved Israel on that day. Christ saves us on the day of our baptism.
But the Israelites grumbled in the desert. Some wanted to return to slavery. We too, though freed by sin, grumble at Godís commandments. We too want to return to the slavery of sin. God takes pity on us and has mercy if we are willing to accept it. He says in Isaiah that his Love will never leave us nor his covenant of peace be shaken if we are willing to accept the covenant.
In Isaiah he promise that if we heed him we shall eat well and delight in rich fare. We must come to him that we may have life. In Christ he feeds us with his flesh. The richest food. Unless we eat of his flesh and drink his blood we shall not have life within us. God works from age to age. The Old Testament does not pass away, it is fulfilled. Shadows, brought into the light of Christ become realities. But again we must seek the Lord while he may be found and call to him when he is near. If we do not and we run from our father we find ourselves wishing we could eat the food of pigs as did the prodigal son. If we return to him then we eat at our Fatherís table.
Baruch tells us that if we walk in the ways of God then we dwell in enduring peace. We must not forsake the fountain of Wisdom that is God. The one who knows her knows all things. Why do we spurn the commandments of God? Why do we seek our destruction? Baruch says that if we cling to Godís Wisdom then we will live. We should not give glory to sin, reveling in our fith. We should give glory to God and then we will be blessed.
Ezekiel tells us we defile ourselves by our deeds. Indeed if we jump into a pile of filth then we cannot be angry if we get dirty. But not only are we defiled by them but we are judged by them as well. Do not make the mistake some Christians do. Believing Jesus is the Son of God isnít enough. The demons believe this. Faith without works is dead. We must be people of integrity. We must choose to do what we say.
God gives us even the help we need to do this. He says He will put his spirit in us and make us live by his statues, carefully observing his decrees. We shall be his people and he shall be our God. He does this through the waters of baptism. Original sin is washed away. Romans tells us we are baptized into Christís death so we are raised with him to a newness of life. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us at baptism. We must nurture the light of Christ given to us and keep it free from the poison of sin. We must grown into union with Christ through a death like his. That is we must suffer, we must be obedient to the point of death and refuse to let sin be our master even if it costs us our life. Then we will be united with him in resurrection. We can no longer be slave to sin. We must die to it as Romans says. To be dead to some one means you have nothing to do with them. To be dead to sin means we reject it and turn to God no matter how appealing the sin might be. As Romans says we must be living for God in Christ Jesus.
This is the choice given to us at Easter. For Christ not only died but he rose. In doing so we can no longer look for him among the dead. What we seek will not be found in the ways of sin and death. We seek life. And we must seek it with all our hearts. Trusting in Godís word, obeying his commands, giving our hearts completely to him. This is the power of the resurrection. It is the promise of the future. But this can only be true if we refuse to turn back to the slavery of sin. God gives us the strength. He gives us his divine life and light at our baptism. We must keep it burning brightly. Run toward Christ as Peter did. You too will be amazed at the power of the resurrection. Easter is a new beginning if we allow it to take hold in our lives. Not just our Sunday lives but every moment of our lives. The good news is, because Christ paid the price for our sins, conquered death, rose from the dead, and freed us from the slavery of sin, the choice is yours. Choose well.

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