St. Joseph Catholic Church - Toledo, OH

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April 8, 2012 Homily - Easter

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Homily Preparation Notes

Observations

-How far resurrection is from their minds:

= wondering how the stone got rolled away

= wondering where the body was taken... not believing it is He when they first see Him

= Asking an apparent gardener or the body has been taken

-But if the kenosis (emptying) happens, then there is the empty tomb.... kenosis leads to resurrection... Jesus humbled himself, emptying himself even to death.... and this as the fulfillment of the first kenosis, which was the Word of God becoming man in the Incarnation.

 

From Reading The Wellspring of Worship of Jean Corbon

-“Life springs from the tomb, more transparent than when it came from the pierced side, more life-giving than when it emerged from the womb of the Virgin Marry. In the tomb where man's thirst is constantly extinguished, the thirst of God takes it over. No longer is there simply a thirst that seeks the fountain; the fountain itself has become a thirst and leaps up within human thirst. 'Give me something to drink… I'm thirsty' (Jn 4:7;19:28). The River of life was in a state of kenosis in the mortal body of Jesus; by entering into our death it is able to well up from our own earth in the incorruptible body of Christ. The tomb remains the sign of the extremity of the love with which the Word wed himself to our flesh, but it is no longer the place of his body: 'He is not here' is the insistent message of all three synoptic Gospels. He has become the beginning of the wholly New Covenant struck by the Resurrection. Now the ebb and flow of Passover merge into one; in the risen Christ the incarnate Word is a living man, and the living man becomes child of God. In him the suffering of the Father for mankind is brought to its fulfillment: 'You are my son, today I have fathered you' (Ps 2:7).”

 

-“This unprecedented power that the river of life exercises in the humanity of the risen Christ–that is the liturgy! In it all the promises of the Father find their fulfillment (Acts 13:32). Since that moment the communion of the Blessed Trinity has ceaselessly been spreading throughout our world and flooding our time with its fullness. Henceforth the economy of salvation takes the form of liturgy.”

 

-“In the living Christ who 'is not here' but is risen and who fills all things and holds the keys of death, the heart of God and the heart of man are as it were the two heartbeats of the heart of history. There the wellspring flows.”

 

Saints

-St. Augustine: “And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here.”

-St. John Chrysostom: "O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep."

-St. Gregory the Theologian: "Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us— you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world. Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died."

-St. Ambrose:  "...Now since you are celebrating the holy Pascha, you should know, brethren, what the Pascha is. Pascha means the crossing-over, and so the Festival is called by this name. For it was on this day that the Children of Israel crossed over out of Egypt, and the Son of God crossed over from this world to His Father. What gain is it to celebrate unless you imitate Him Whom you worship; that is, unless you cross over from Egypt, that is, from the darkness of evildoing to the light of virtue, from the love of this world to the love of your heavenly home?"

-Anonymous (5th-6th c.): "Having seen the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless one. We worship your Cross, O Christ, and we hymn and glorify your holy Resurrection. For you are our God, we know no other but you, we name you by name. Come all the faithful, let us worship the holy Resurrection of Christ; for behold through the Cross, joy has come in all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, we hymn his Resurrection. For having endured the Cross for us, he has destroyed death by death."

-St. Jose Maria Escriva: “Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: “Can a woman forget her baby that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” And he has kept his promise. His delight is still to be with the sons of men.”

-St. Jose Maria Escriva: “Christ gives us his risen life, he rises in us, if we become sharers in his cross and his death. We should love the cross, self-sacrifice and mortification. Christian optimism is not something sugary, nor is it a human optimism that things will “work out well.” No, its deep roots are awareness of freedom and faith in grace. It is an optimism which makes us be demanding with ourselves. It gets us to make a real effort to respond to God’s call.

Not so much despite our wretchedness but in some way through it, through our life as men of flesh and blood and dust, Christ is shown forth: in our effort to be better, to have a love which wants to be pure, to overcome our selfishness, to give ourselves fully to others - to turn our existence into a continuous service.”

 

Related Scriptures

-Philippians 2:5-11 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

638 "We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this day he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus."489 The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross:

Christ is risen from the dead!

Dying, he conquered death;

To the dead, he has given life.490

 

639 The mystery of Christ's resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. . ."491 The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.492

640 "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen."493 The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ's body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.494 Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter.495 The disciple "whom Jesus loved" affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered "the linen cloths lying there", "he saw and believed".496 This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.497

489 Acts 13:32-33.?

490 Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Easter.?

491 1 Cor 15:3-4.?

492 Cf. Acts 9:3-18.?

493 Lk 24:5-6.?

494 Cf. Jn 20:13; Mt 28:11-15.?

495 Cf. Lk 24:3,12,22-23.?

496 Jn 20:2, 6, 8.

?497 Cf. Jn 11:44; 20:5-7.

Homily Outline

-An actual resurrection from the dead… the only way to explain the impetus, the momentum, the impulse behind the growth of the early church… it should've faded into nothingness, but there is something real that empowered it… believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead

-a real resurrection… if death is separation of body and soul… resurrection is the joining of these two back together… happens by the power of his divinity, which is connected to his whole humanity, body and soul… therefore in his Godhead, he can bring body and soul back together by divine power

-although the resurrection was the main event compelling the apostles and other believers, it's pretty clear that before experiencing the empty tomb, they really did not expect resurrection… although Jesus had spoken some about the fact that he would rise on the third day, resurrection clearly was not on their radar screen… evidenced by their asking a presumed gardener where the body was put… or not believing it was he when they saw him first… or wondering who had moved the stone… or the other disciples not believing the women when they came with the news of the empty tomb… resurrection was not on their radar screen

-but in hindsight we can suggest that it should have been… because kenosis leads to the empty tomb... kenosis, self-emptying, self-gift, self-sacrifice… what characterized the life of this Son of God, if not self-sacrifice?… it all began in heaven… you remember the passage in St. Paul's letter to the Philippians, chapter 2, where it says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”… He emptied himself of heavenly glory to take on human flesh… which, of course, meant he would now suffer… and then as a man (still God) he allows himself to be brutally tortured and crucified, and to undergo a very real death… the ultimate in self-sacrifice… you remember from John's Gospel, “No greater love has a man than this, to lay down his life for his friends.”…

-well, self-emptying love is part of God's very nature… he is drawn to it, therefore… so this kenotic act, this act of self-emptying love, draws the Father's presence into the tomb of His Only Begotten Son to raise him from the dead… and a real resurrection happens… so kenosis leads to the empty tomb... the Father cannot resist drawing near to his given and spent Son… the Father empties out the tomb, giving life to his Son's dead body…

-kenosis leads to an empty tomb… if it is the case for the Son, then it is the case for us who are baptized into him… believing in Him, we lay down our lives in faith, hope, charity, inspired by the Holy Spirit… and this pattern of death-Resurrection, kenosis- emptying-of-the-tomb is repeated in our life… it is sometimes called the Paschal Mystery

-may we rejoice in the resurrection, realizing it is proof for us of God's power over our very worst enemy–death…

-there is resurrection power in this Eucharist, receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, dead-but-risen... power to lay down their life for God and others, because we know kenosis leads to the glory of the empty tomb…

-St. Jose Maria Escriva: “Christ gives us his risen life, he rises in us, if we become sharers in his cross and his death. We should love the cross, self-sacrifice and mortification. Christian optimism is not something sugary, nor is it a human optimism that things will “work out well.” No, its deep roots are awareness of freedom and faith in grace. It is an optimism which makes us be demanding with ourselves. It gets us to make a real effort to respond to God’s call.

Not so much despite our wretchedness but in some way through it, through our life as men of flesh and blood and dust, Christ is shown forth: in our effort to be better, to have a love which wants to be pure, to overcome our selfishness, to give ourselves fully to others - to turn our existence into a continuous service.”

 

Iustus germinabit sicut lilium: et florebit in aeternum ante Dominum.
-- Gospel Acclamation, Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19

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