A NEW MESSAGE SERIES
Last weekend I began a new 3 homily message series at St. Joseph and St. Ursula. If you happened to miss the homily, please go to our family of parishes website (www.chathamcatholic.ca) to listen or watch. Homily #2 is happening this weekend at Blessed Sacrament and St. Agnes. I will conclude this series with the final homily on the weekend of May 28/29 at St. Joseph and St. Ursula. This homily and all my past message series can also be found at my website (www.revjj.ca).
This latest message series is all about the gift of Easter—which is not over yet. The Easter season spans from Easter Sunday (April 17th this year) to the celebration of Pentecost (June 5th this year). These several weeks of celebration have two many components that can help us make the resurrection of Christ real for us today.
JESUS IS ALIVE!!
First and foremost, Easter is a time for us to celebrate the fact that Jesus suffered, died and rose again as our Saviour to show us the pathway to salvation. Christ the Good Shepherd fulfilled his mission of mercy by breaking the bonds of sin and death. Just like the Apostles who were filled with overwhelming joy at seeing their Master and friend alive in the Upper Room—we too seek to discover the Risen Christ in our midst through the gift of the Eucharist, Sacred Scripture, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and through our encounters of grace with others. We too become Jesus for those around us when we offer mercy, love, peace and joy!!
We can only imagine the joy and grace the Apostles, Mary and all the other disciples felt when they saw Jesus—the pain and agony of the betrayal, false trial and painful crucifixion and death melt away in the victory of the resurrection!! How did this miraculous event change their lives?
MISSIONARIES OF THE GOSPEL
With the joy and excitement of the resurrection comes transformation and conversion in our lives. Jesus rising from the dead offers us new purpose and meaning. Christ offers us the path to eternal life that needs to be lived and shared!! The first gift of the resurrection is the Holy Spirit given to Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost and for us received at Baptism and strengthened through Confirmation.
If we are truly overwhelmed with joy at the resurrection it should completely fulfill and changes our lives—how can we not be compelled by grace to share this GREAT NEWS? Jesus offers us peace and empowers us with the Holy Spirit to share his love, grace, mercy and life in everything we do. This is not just something we do because our faith expects it, it is something we do because our encounter with Jesus totally turns our lives around. What an amazing gift!!
What does it mean to be completely transformed by the Risen Christ? Pope Benedict XVI describes this in his encyclical called God Is Love “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive decision.”
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER DURING THIS SERIES
Here are some questions that we all should consider during the message series so we can bring to life the resurrection of Christ in our own lives today:
(1) What does the Easter season mean to me here and now?
– Does Easter end for us after the holiday weekend or does this season challenge me to consider the love and joy that only Jesus can offer us? Easter is not just another liturgical season that we notice at church on the weekend. It is a way of life for us that makes us different than the rest of the world.
(2) How am I embracing the joy of the resurrection Christ has given me each day?
– Do I take the opportunities to see the Risen Lord in the people and events around me? Do I take the time to pray, go to Mass and receive the Sacrament of Peace? Do I allow others to walk with me or help me in my joys and challenges?
(3) How does the resurrection guide my actions and choices in my life?
– Does the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and offers each of us the gift of eternal life translate in the actual choices I make daily? Does the call to be a sharer of the Good News help me decide what vocation or career I follow in my life?
A TIME FOR NEW LIFE & NEW OPPORTUNITIES
We celebrate Easter each year to draw us back to Jesus with hearts renewed on the mission of the Gospel. Let us pray that we don’t allow this powerful season to pass without growing as faithful disciples.