Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday

   Many years ago, before I was ordained permanent deacon, I was doing my liturgical training at St Louis in Clarksville.  Monsignor Luca which was training me asked if I could help in their Easter liturgies. St Louis is like St Michael in which they get large crowds every Easter Sunday; so during communion I literary had hundreds of people in my line. With this many people your one goal is always to keep the line moving.  Just when I thought I had got into my “rhythm”, an older couple (What I assumed it was husband and wife) approached and stood in front of me smiling. It was obvious they did not know what to do. I asked them “Are you Catholic?” And the husband said “Oh no, we are Muslim but we love Jesus and we believe in the resurrection”. My first thought was “Wow you guys must be really lost!”, but then it down into me, although Monsignor Luca had prepared me for the many surprising things that can happen at the communion line; He never prepared me for that one.
    Imagine my dilemma, not been Catholic (or even Christian!) I could not in good conscience give them communion, but the problem was I had never in my life heard a better reason to be in a Catholic Church on Easter morning than “We love Jesus and we believe in the resurrection!” So I quietly told them that I could not give communion but that I will pray for them and give them a blessing. They looked happy with this and after I did the sign of the cross in their foreheads and asked the resurrected Lord to enter in to the hearts of these, His children they move on.

   Every Easter I think about this couple, because they taught me a great lesson. A lesson that not even Monsignor Luca with all his efforts to make of me a “half backed” deacon was able to teach me: Easter is a day which belongs to the whole world.  And every Easter I find myself wandering, how many people here at St Michel are like the Muslim couple of my story, how many find themselves lost, maybe feeling out of place, feeling that they cannot find their way, and after much wandering find themselves sitting in this sanctuary, this morning.

   My brothers and sisters if today you find your selves feeling like this, let me tell you: you are welcome here, this is your home and we are glad you came today. In fact, even if you feel like you are not worthy of sharing on the table of the Lord with us, I invite you get in line and come, cross your hands, and either me, Fr. Mike or one of the other ministers will pray to the resurrected Lord to enter into your heart.

   Easter is a day that does not belong to just “Catholics in good standing”, it does not even belong to just Christians; Jesus rose from the dead for all, for Muslims, for Indus, even for the ones who do not believe in Him.  He rose from the dead for all of humanity, every man, human and child that has ever existed, past, present and future. Today all that matters, all that is required of you to be a member of this family, is just two things: that you love Jesus and that you believe in the resurection. Happy Easter!!