Sunday, May 11, 2014

4th Sunday of Easter

   After Jesus resurrection the disciples found themselves with a great dilemma. For three years they had spent every minute of every hour with The Lord, they have seen him eat, sleep, and cry; they had seen him tired, hungry and mad, they had seen him do all the regular things a regular human being do. But, after the cross and the empty tomb things changed, Jesus was different. This was the same Jesus but his glorified body became something they had never ever experienced; To the point that, many times they had problems discerning Him as The Lord.
  In the previous two weekends the readings have presented us with examples of this problem. Two weeks ago we saw St Thomas for which, it was not enough that the risen Lord was standing in front of Him, he had to touch Him; he had to put his finger into the nail marks in order to believe. Last week we saw the two disciples on their way to Emmaus spending most of the day conversing with the Lord, only to recognize him as he shared the evening dinner, not by how he looked but by what he did; “the breaking of the bread”
  What I find interesting about these encounters is that looking at Jesus with their own eyes was not enough to recognize him; In fact it looks like Jesus knew very well this was going to be the case because as we heard in today’s reading he prepared the disciples to recognize Him not by using their own eyes but by listening to His voice.
   The readings of these three Sundays present to us how the disciples were able to know whom he was; they recognized him by the wounds of His body, by the actions of his hands, and by the sound of his voice.
    If you think about it, things have not changed that much in two thousand years. I think it is fair to say that we Christians of the 21 century still have a lot of trouble recognizing the risen Lord. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by all the different messages we receive telling us to find Jesus here or there or messages telling us that if we do this or that then we will have our own a personal encounter with The Lord. We forget that, what was true to the first disciples is still true to us today. We can still recognize the Risen Christ within our mists by the same three signs the scriptures have been teaching us for the last three weeks.
    We can easily recognize the risen Lord by His wounds. Every time we encounter suffering, there is Jesus. We can find him in the homeless person in the street corner, on the eyes of the tired immigrant, in the scared eyes of a young girl who has been convinced the only choice available to her is an abortion. We can find Jesus in the hospitals and the prisons of our community. The wounds that cover our society today are the wounds of the risen Lord, and by recognizing these wounded people as our brothers and sisters we are recognizing Christ himself.
   We can also recognize him by the actions of his hands. On every person who labors to bring the Gospel into world, He is breaking bread with those who want to meet Him. We can find the Lord in the missionary who is spreading the Gospel in some God forgotten corner of the world and in our classrooms here at St Michael, in the volunteer catechist teaching our children the basics of the faith. Wherever there is an action of the Church to spread the Gospel, there is the risen Lord.
   And finally we can recognize Jesus by the sound of his voice.  Now you might think“how are we going to do this if we have never heard him speak? If we do not know how His voice sounds? The answer to these, very valid questions is given to us in today’s first reading; in it we read that after Peter declared publicly  Jesus as The Lord, the people who were listening felt “cut to the heart” by his words. We can recognize the Risen Lord not by the sound of His voice but by the way his words cut us to the heart.
   Simply put, every time we are moved by the words we hear from Pope Francis, or from our Bishops or even the words you might hear here from this pulpit, these words do not come from us, it is the risen Christ who is speaking into your heart. The words of Jesus have the power to cut through all the clutter and the noise we live in; we just have to pay attention and treasure these moments.
    Now Tomorrow (Today) is Mothers Day. So I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention another way in which we can all recognize the risen Christ in our lives, and that is by the love we receive from our mothers. By their sacrifice and efforts we are kept safe, healthy and loved; showing us the love of the risen Christ by their action. Because of this, on behalf of all of us here at St Michael, I would like to thank you and wish you a very happy mother’s day. God bless you Mom.

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"