Homily – Easter MMXII 4/8/12

 Homily – Easter MMXII 4/8/12

Well, I tried real hard at the beginning of Mass not to put the microphone into the Easter Fire when I was done using it, and thankfully I didn’t! (You had to be at one of last week’s Palm Sunday Masses to get that joke).

Actually, what I was really worried about was getting through the Exultet, that long, 1500 year old Easter proclamation I sang at the beginning of Mass, without passing out. There’s a whole new translation of it, and I just got around to really practicing it today, and I kept getting out of breath singing it all the way through.

Most Catholics either love the Easter Vigil, or else they find it, shall we say, lacking in brevity. But there are some of us who really love it and think its the best Mass of the whole year.

And those of you who attend each year might have noticed something new about the Easter Proclamation besides that it is a new translation. Namely, that there are bees in it!

After 40 years of being lost in the 1970s English translation of the original 6th Century Latin text, the bees are back in the Exultet, and are happily buzzing around English speaking churches throughout the world tonight.

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,

accept this candle, a solemn offering,

the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,

an evening sacrifice of praise,

this gift from your most holy Church . . .

(whose) light . . . is fed by melting wax,

drawn out by mother bees

to build a torch so precious.

You may or may not know this, but church law requires that this Easter Candle and all Candles used at Mass be at least 51% beeswax.

So tonight I thought I’d give you all a little talk on the bees. Not on the birds and the bees, not tonight at least! Just on bees.

The Fathers of the Church used to say that the Church is like a colony of honey bees.

I found a neat website called “Buzz about Bees” and here’s what it says:

“Honey bees live in very large, well organized colonies, (average hive has 50,000 bees). . . The colony functions as a single unit, with workers assigned ‘tasks’ or duties that ideally will help the colony to be successful.

“This efficient organization is vital – at any time there may be thousands of mouths to feed and eggs to tend to, as well as predators to fight off, all on top of general ‘house-keeping’ tasks!”

And in some ways, the Church as a whole is like a bee colony, and each parish is also like one. Just as every little bee in the hive matters for the good of the whole, so every one of us matters in the Church, in our parish, for the well being of one another.

And the Church, like the bee colony, has a lot of work to be done. We have thousands of hungry mouths to feed, the poor, the hungry, the uneducated, those who don’t know Jesus.

The Church also like those bees has predators to fend off – the world, the flesh and the devil, temptation and sin, which constantly threatens the well being of the Church.

All the worker bees in the colony work hard and go from flower to flower in order to make honey and beeswax, which they make to store the honey in for the winter.

And in some ways, this Big Easter Candle is a symbol of all the toil and efforts, all the hard work and prayers and struggles and crosses of each parishioner at St. Joseph’s parish over the past years.

Tonight, the Church on earth, and our Parish of St. Joseph in particular, offers to God the fruits of our labors for Him, we offer to God everything we have, all the faith, hope and love we’ve been able to bring forth throughout the year – we all kind of symbolically take all the wax we’ve all made, and pour it into this Candle, and say as we just did,

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,

accept this candle, a solemn offering,

the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,

this gift from your . . . .Church . . .

We give to God tonight, this lump of wax which represents our lives, our humanness.

And in turn, God our loving Father tonight gives us the Flame.

The Resurrection of Christ lights up the darkness of our lives on earth with the Brilliant Faith that Jesus is Risen, that for the believer in Christ, there is always Hope, that Christ’s Love is stronger than death,

that no matter what happens in this life, Jesus is with us and He will bring us through every Cross and Dark Valley to New Life and Love.

My brothers and sisters in Christ! God hasn’t made us to be lone ranger bees, but Honey Bees, depending upon one another, working and praying together, called to be one in Christ and in His Holy Church.

Each one of us is singular, unique and unrepeatable, each one of us has special gifts to share. Our world today emphasizes diversity and individualism, and that is good, but this needs to be balanced with a greater sense of community.

May God bless all the bees of St. Joseph Parish this Easter Season with Resurrection Faith, and may the Risen Lord Light up the Way for us which leads to Peace, Happiness, and Love.

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