Archive for April, 2010

Homily – Easter Sunday MMX 4/4/10

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Homily – Easter Sunday MMX 4/4/10

That first Easter Sunday morning, the Three Holy Women went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared as St. Luke’s Gospel tells us.

These women were planning to sprinkle these sweet-smelling spices on and around the body of their Lord Jesus, which had been laying dead in that damp and musty tomb for three days.

And it could very well be that the women came up with the idea themselves, but it could also be that Peter and the other Apostles asked them to do this, maybe even ordered them to go to the tomb first thing that morning.

Perhaps that First Easter Sunday morning the Apostles planned on giving Jesus a better burial than the rush job that they gave Him late Good Friday afternoon, when the disciples had to hurry things up because sunset began the strict sabbath rest they had to observe as Jews.

Perhaps that first Easter Sunday, the disciples were hoping to take Jesus’ body out of the tomb and lay Him out in the Garden, like an outdoor wake, and reminisce about the Good Old Days that were now gone forever as they gathered around the Body of Jesus that was newly spiced up by the Holy Women

But instead, the women on entering the empty tomb found it to be filled with the most Heavenly Fragrance, a Fragrance so fair that all other smells paled in comparison.

The smell of Resurrection filled that early morning air.

And the women breathed it in, and then threw down their earthly spices and ran faster and lighter than they ever ran in their life back to the Apostles and said “The Funeral’s Off!”

And Peter and John smelled it on the women’s clothes, and then they ran faster and lighter than ever to the tomb, breathed it all in, and believed.

And this Easter Day, my brothers and sisters in Christ, the smell of Resurrection once again permeates the Air.

Jesus Christ, who was Crucified and Buried by the powers of this world is not dead, His Body needs no “spicing up” in our world today,

no, the Body of Christ is as alive and full of power and glory in our world today as it was the Day He Rose Victoriously from the Grave.

Let us this Easter Season leave the stale polluted air of this fallen world behind, and step out into the Fresh Air of Resurrection Faith.

Homily – Good Friday MMX 4/2/10

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Homily – Good Friday MMX 4/2/10

Pawtuxet River 11 ft above flood stage 3/31/10

Pawtuxet River 11 ft above flood stage 3/31/10

Save me O God, for the waters have risen to my neck.

I have sunk into the mud of the deep, and there is no foothold,

I have entered deep waters, and the waves overwhelm me.

(Psalm 69)

Last Night, on Holy Thursday Evening, Jesus reclined with His Apostles in the safety and security of the Upper Room, a room high above the flood line, a Room only the Disciples knew the location of, where His enemies could not find Him.

But after the Last Supper, Jesus freely leaves the safety and peace of that Upper Room, and descends down into the Valley of the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and prepare.

And at Midnight on Good Friday, the raging flood waters start flooding the Garden.

Not a 100 year Flood, not even a 500 year flood, but a flood the likes of which has never been seen before or since, a flood far more horrific and devastating than the flood in the time of Noah.

For in Noah’s Day, it was the Good God who for forty days flooded the world with water, to rid the world of Evil Men and to save the Just Man Noah and his family.  But on that Friday, it is Satan who for Forty Hours floods the world with Darkness, to rid the world of Goodness, Truth and Justice, and to destroy the God-Man, Jesus and His disciples.

At Midnight in the Garden, the Dams of Hell burst open, and streaming through the Olive Trees comes a river of lanterns, torches and weapons all converging upon Our Lord.

And then, Jesus the Son of God permits the waters to come crashing upon Him:

-The kiss of betrayal by His best friend,

-The abandonment by all His other friends in His time of greatest need,

-The loss of His freedom, the wrongful arrest,

-The corrupt trial in the middle of the night,

-The false accusations, the slanders, the lies and half truths and twisting of His words,

-The Pharisees stirring up the crowds against Him,

-The people all flocking to the low-life Barabbas and shouting for the crucifixion of Jesus,

-His right hand man swearing to God in public that he never even met Jesus before,

-The political authorities not caring one bit about truth and justice, only out to keep their office,

-The religious authorities even worse, saying their only King is Ceasar, the Priests the main instigators in bringing down the Christ,

And then, the Innocent One, the Truth, the Life, beaten down, Crowned with Thorns and mocked at, condemned as a criminal who should be cast out of decent society;

Stripped of all dignity, all his possessions taken from Him, Nailed to a Tree, humanly unable to move, humanly unable to escape as He is spit at and laughed at and given vinegar to drink.

Wave upon wave upon wave of misery and injustice and sin poured upon Him, until

It is finished.

No angel, or anyone else, comes to save Him at the last minute.

The betrayer, the Barabbas fans, the weak and corrupt religious and political leaders, the brutal Roman Army seem to have won the day, while Truth and Goodness is buried in a sealed tomb.

But even as the flood waters subside late Good Friday afternoon, Mary the Mother of Jesus knows who really won the day, and come Sunday, the Disciples of Jesus will know as well.

For as the Bride in the Song of Songs says, The deepest waters cannot drown my Love, nor can any flood sweep My Love away.

The Suffering,  Death, and Burial of Christ, which shows us the greatness of Jesus’ love for us sinners, also shows us that, as the Song of Song also says, Love is stronger than death.

Lord Jesus, when this world rejects you and crucifies you, may we, with the Virgin Mary and John the Beloved and Mary Magdalen, remain close to you;  May we cling to the Wood of your Holy Cross, knowing that the Cross alone is our one hope, knowing that the Wood of the Cross is the one and only Life Raft that will bring us safely through the  worst of floods this life can send us.

Homily – Holy Thursday MMX 4/1/10

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Homily – Holy Thursday MMX 4/1/10

Pawtuxet River, 11 ft above flood stage, 3/31/10

Pawtuxet River, 11 ft above flood stage, 3/31/10

Our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone whose loved ones have been adversely affected by the terrible flooding we have been experiencing.

As many of you know, I come from Coventry, and my parents live only a quarter of a mile from the South Branch of the Pawtuxet River, thankfully on high ground. Most of the major roads in Coventry are closed; my friend Fr. Kelley, Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul has 18 inches of water in the Church basement and no heat, half of his parish yesterday and most of today was under mandatory evacuation from a dam 150 yards from the Church which threatened to give way, one of the homes evacuated is a duplex my mother grew up in and my parents lived in when they were first married.

The Warwick Mall I grew up going to is now Lake Warwick Mall, with cars almost totally submerged in water, as is many other shopping centers and homes in the Cranston and Warwick area.

Macy's at the Warwick Mall, Warwick RI, 3/31/10

Macy's at the Warwick Mall, Warwick RI, 3/31/10

Thankfully, the Blackstone Valley has been spared, and thankfully also no lives have been lost, but certainly this will be a financial and emotional hardship for many many people and our prayers go out to them this Holy Thursday.

But in the midst of all these trials, and in the midst of the many other trials you and I our facing, tonight, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, invites us to come to Higher Ground, to this Upper Room where no flood waters can reach.

Here in this Upper Room tonight, Jesus gives us three gifts which will help us weather any storm this life can bring us, three gifts which will enable us to walk across the stormy waters: Jesus this night gives us the Eucharist, the Priesthood, and the New Commandment to Love One another as Christ has loved us.

Just as the Holy Trinity is One God in Three Persons, in a similar way these three Gifts are really One Gift in Three Forms.

For Jesus our Lord and Savior is both truly present and truly hidden in all three Gifts.

He is most of all truly present in the Holy Eucharist. This is Jesus’ Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity – Jesus, whose Word in the Beginning Created the Whole Universe, who said “Fiat Lux – Let there be light” and there was light, and it was good, tonight says “Hoc est Corpus Meum – This is my Body, this is my Blood” — and ordinary Bread and Wine are Transubstantiated into the Flesh and Blood of Jesus, the Bread of Angels.

And in order to continue giving us this Bread from Heaven until the end of time, Jesus this night Ordains the first Twelve Priests of the New and Everlasting Covenant. And as the Saints and most recently Pope John Paul II tells us, not only did He ordain those Twelve Priests, but He also held in His Sacred Heart and thought of Fr. Charland, Fr. Blain, Fr. Marcin, Fr. Woolley and every man who would be called to the priesthood until the end of time.

Like the Eucharist, Jesus is truly present in each and every validly ordained priest. We call priests alter Christus – other Christs. The priest says “This is my Body” not “This is the Body of Jesus”, He says in confession “I absolve you from your sins” not “Christ absolves you” because the priest is another Christ.

In this Year of the Priesthood, may we this Night in a special way thank God for the gift and the mystery which is the Holy Priesthood, and pray that all priests may be more and more converted inwardly, that all their thoughts, desires, words and actions may be those of Christ the High Priest whose dignity they sacramentally partake in.

Let us pray in a special way that This Night, as He sits at table, that Jesus is even now thinking of some young man or boy in our parish, calling Him to one day “Do this in remembrance of Me” to one day give his life totally to Jesus and His Church as an Ordained Priest.

Finally Jesus is present in the New Commandment He gives us this night “As I have washed your feet, so you must wash each others feet, As I have loved you, so you must love one another”

And Jesus washes the Apostle’s feet and gives them the New Commandment after He has given them the Eucharist and the Priesthood.

This is because the gift of the Eucharist enables us to live out that New Commandment.

The Gift of the Eucharist, if worthy received, fills us with the Peace of Christ and raises our Hearts to the Joys of Heaven. But the Eucharist also fills our Hearts with a burning desire to like Jesus, humble ourselves and take the form of a servant, it makes us want to stoop down and wash the grime and sewer water off the feet of those knee deep in the mud.

And in that act of service to the poor and needy, we will also encounter Our Lord and Savior Jesus, truly present and hidden in the Poor. Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, to the physically or spiritually sick or suffering, to the flood victim, the stranger, to the unwanted and rejected by society, that you do unto me.

And so on this Holy Night, as we recline with Jesus in this Upper Room, may Christ renew our love and appreciation for these Three Gifts which bring Jesus to us, and which raise our Humanity above all the storms and floods that this fallen world can bring our way.