Once again, we are separated): But we are resilient, Christians, Minnesotans, Wisconsinites, Iowans, and all other states where this homily and all are sent to. We are the “bread,” The Body of Christ in our midst if we choose to be! We are called today in this Easter Season to “resurrect” all that is good in each one of us and when did our world need this more?! Blessings on all and every one of you—Pastor Kathy
P.S. If we could meet, it would be today, as this would be our monthly Saturday Mass at 4:30 P.M. And whether you can look at this today, or tomorrow, remember that others are praying with you from All Are One!
Like newborn children, we should thirst for milk, on which our spirits can grow in strength, Alleluia!
Let Us Pray
Heavenly Creator and God of mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for he is alive! From the waters of death you raise us with him and renew your gift of life within us. Increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with Christ and help us to grow as your people toward the fullness of eternal life with you. We ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name, and with the Spirit, one God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.
- Acts 2: 42-47
- 1 Peter 1: 3-9
- John 20: 19-31
Homily—2nd Weekend of Easter
April 18, 2020
My friends, each week seems to draw us even deeper into the mystery of what this time of pandemic is really all about—what it may be calling us to, what, perhaps, we are to learn…
Theologians tell us that when we contemplate the Resurrection of our brother Jesus, the Christ; we shouldn’t just see this wonder, one-dimensionally, but on another dimension that truly asks the question, “What does this really mean for me, in 2020? Is there something that needs to “resurrect” in me?
We know from Scriptures that “resurrection” is a different phenomenon than “resuscitation.” When Jesus raised his friend, Lazarus, what happened in that instance was resuscitation—Lazarus was dead and then he was alive again! When he came out of the tomb, he needed to be, “unwrapped.”
We marvel in the Easter accounts of Mary of Magdala not knowing Jesus at first—not until he, “said her name, Mary,” did she know him. The same was true for the disciples on the way to Emmaus—they didn’t know him until he did something familiar—“breaking bread with them.” What was different between Lazarus and Jesus? Jesus had gone through death and rose whereas Lazarus had died, but would die again.
So if we follow the thought that, “resurrection changes us”—we are not the same, we do not look the same, then, what might need to be “resurrected” or changed in us, here and now, to truly be followers of our brother, Jesus? We must remember that he came to show us the way to live, to die, and ultimately, to rise—we have the hope of rising like him, one day!
Each year during the Easter Season, we marvel when we read Luke’s, Acts of the Apostles, at how these first Christians lived in community. And even though we know that over time, they couldn’t sustain the goodness that we read about in the first reading today, but begin to quarrel among themselves instead, it is good to know that for a time, they were, as Scripture says, “devoted” to each other, to hearing the apostles’ instructions, to the communal life—breaking bread together, sharing all things in common and dividing everything on the basis of need. But this is the human condition; we are flawed, which is the definition of being human and must continually go back to our source—Jesus, to see how we are doing.
Now, just like in the time of these first followers of Jesus, there are many poor and disadvantaged among us. In fact, during this time of pandemic; we have become aware of how it unfairly hits those who are poor. We are told to practice social-distancing and wash our hands—how does one do that when you are homeless and have no soap? There was a reason in Jesus’ time for him teaching his would-be followers, “to divide everything on basis of need.” If we wish to follow him, we can hardly do less!
The reading this week from Acts also tells us that, “a reverent fear overtook them because of signs and wonders being performed by the apostles.” Stories abound in our time as well of the over-the-top love being expressed by our sisters and brothers around our world for those suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually from the coronavirus.
We have seen nurses and doctors putting their lives on the line to serve their patients, often without the protective equipment needed to keep them safe.
One nurse from New York shared this week on the evening news that he felt badly because, even when the protective equipment is available, it limits his ability to truly and humanely care for his patients because the proper equipment is so cumbersome to work in. I got the sense from listening to him that much is being called forth to be “resurrected”—changed within him to be the type of nurse that these times call for.
Then there are the patients themselves and their families who must be separated without the comfort of each other at such a scary time, even unto death—alone, except for their caregivers. We can only imagine what is being called to, “resurrect,” to be changed within each of them. What will we all learn from this pandemic?
The Scriptures of the Easter Season call us believers to, in many ways look at the “perishable” versus the “imperishable” in our lives, whether we choose to or not. This time of pandemic calls us to the same. “What is it that lasts?” Peter asks in today’s second reading.
If we look at living our physical lives for whatever time we are given, and then one day facing our mortal deaths, with the hope of resurrection and a new life, merely with our minds, reasoning all that out with our faith, which causes us to believe in something we can’t see nor fully understand; we can perhaps accept it as inevitable. But what seems to be the case for many of us, even if we say we believe, is that we simply don’t know and when we are sick, tired, frustrated, depressed, or alone, or any combination of the above, then is when our ability to believe and to hope, far above our human condition to do either, is truly tested.
Sister Joan Chittister, this past week had somewhat of an answer to these times of doubt: “I have discovered, over time, [she says] that the cross is supposed to take its toll on us. It forms us to find God in the shadows of life. Ironically enough, it is the cross that teaches us to hope.”
I find the truth of what Sister Joan says in the stories that are shared on the nightly news on all of the major networks. They are stories of “crosses” people are bearing, “because it is their job,” “because these are their kids and that is what a good parent does,” “to those who die without their families ,” “to families who know their loved one died alone and must come to terms with that.”
I also, though, am hearing the stories of hope, after the fact of, “the cross” that was born that demonstrate a new appreciation for life, a desire to uplift the good, the beauty of creation, the realization that when people work together for a common good; we are all better—we are resurrecting” in us what is best—what each of us is called, by our Creator, to show our world in the time that we are given.
The gospel selection from John this weekend is a very hopeful one—I lift up just two of Jesus’ instructions for all of us before he physically left the earth. First, “peace be with you”—he didn’t want us to fear, letting us know that he would be with us. Secondly, he said, “I am sending you!” This is our calling card as his followers—our great responsibility and challenge! Jesus will only live in our world if we allow him to live through us! Amen? Amen!
Prayers of the Faithful
Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
- Jesus, in your risen state, be our guide to live out your loving example toward all people, especially the least among us—let them be foremost in our minds and hearts, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
2. O Risen Jesus, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of peace, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
3. Jesus, risen Savior, you who were a healer in every way, freeing people’s minds, hearts and bodies of illness of every kind, grant us health in these same ways, especially now, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
- Risen Jesus, you who have said, you will never leave us—help us to desire a close relationship with you and strive to form that closeness by taking time each day to communicate in our own way, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
- Risen Jesus, our brother and friend, give hope to those who are suffering now due to job loss in these uncertain times due to Covid 19—show them the way through this painful time, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
6. Risen Jesus, help us to be alleluia people and resurrect in our lives that piece that is ours to give our world, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
- Risen Jesus, in your new, resurrected life, continue to be our constant model of one who lived very simply upon the earth, and teach us to do the same, as we reverence our beautiful planet, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
8. Risen Jesus, you who never turned anyone away, be with our community, All Are One—continue to bless us, especially during this time of separation, and assist us to be open to all of your people and guide us to always make a place of welcome at our table, but more importantly, in our hearts, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”
- Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially due to the coronavirus—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus
***Let us pray for your particular needs—you may say them aloud, we pray, then response
***Let us pray for the silent petitions on our hearts (pause) we pray, then response
Let Us Pray
Jesus, you have truly risen! Alleluia! Be the strength we need each day to be people of the resurrection—true to our calling to be people of peace and of love. Let us never falter in our commitment to you and your world. Give us the strength and grace to do what we can to make our world better—help us to be the change we want to see. Let us truly be Easter people of joy, knowing that because you rose, we will too one day. We ask all of this of you, our Savior and with the Creator and your Spirit— all, one God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.
Let Us Pray
Prayer after Communion (again, friends, we must remember that in the absence of physical bread—the Body of Christ, Jesus our brother is with us—always! And we must share him with our world—be “bread” for all that we meet!)
Merciful God, may this Easter sacrament that we have received live forever in our hearts and minds. We ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.