Quite a Lent culminates tonight in another singular celebration of the Easter Vigil.
I’ve included the written homily below the video of tonight’s Mass.
Easter Homily, 2020
Year of COVID-19
The Risen Jesus is our Home
Our first reading tonight, the Creation account from the Book of Genesis, recalls the home God made for the human family, the common home of creation. (Pope Francis; Laudato Si) We learn from this account of Genesis that God is the Father of all, and we are created to live in perfect harmony with God, one another, and all creation.
Sadly, as a result of the misuse of the freedom God bestows on us, sin entered into this home, causing disruption and division, and this sin and its effects touch each of us.
Our Second Reading tonight speaks about an Exodus of God’s people from slavery to freedom. In many ways, it is an analogy for all of life. The human person and his wrestling with the proper use of freedom experiences a certain slavery from which he is unable to free himself. He finds himself in exile from his home, and needs God’s assistance to both be set him free and to find his way home.
We need God. We need a Savior. And as the Prophet Isaiah reminds us in the third reading tonight, God’s love will never leave us, nor his covenant of peace be shaken.
During this time of the coronavirus we feel “afflicted, storm-battered and unconsoled.” (Isaiah) This new reality is also a strong analogy for our deeper spiritual reality. But as the Prophet reminds us, our children shall be taught by the Lord, and we will find peace. God will establish us again in justice, far from fear and oppression, where destruction cannot come near. (Isaiah)
During these days of self-quarantine we are learning how important it is for us to receive the basic things we need. Tonight we receive and celebrate the most basic need of all, the need for a Savior. We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, who frees us once and for all from sin and death.
The resurrection of Jesus is ultimately the work of God, our Father, who sent his son, Jesus to renew us as his family. God’s home (our home on this earth) had become fractured from the disobedience of his children and a Carpenter was needed for the delicate work of rebuilding. A Physician was required for healing our hearts and damaged relationships. A Priest was sent as the ultimate emissary of God to serve as a Shepherd of God’s people.
From the altar of the cross, Jesus our great High Priest accomplished our redemption, making us into God’s holy people. Jesus, as Carpenter has made us into a dwelling place made of living stones. (1 Peter 2) This is the mystery and reality we commemorate at every celebration of the Eucharist. Jesus our Physician through his wounds has healed our own.
On this holy night, the Risen Jesus stands in our midst and says: “Behold, I come to make all things new.” (Revelations 21:5)
My dear friends, wherever you are this Easter, know that you are a member of God’s family, and you have a place in his house; this home that is the Church. We call the Church the Body of Christ because he has made us so.
By his death and resurrection and through our baptism, St. Paul teaches us that we have grown into union with Jesus. In this union, Jesus the Master Carpenter is dismantling our old sinful self, in order to make us new in himself. Dying to self is necessary if we are to share in the risen life of Jesus. Dying to self is required for those who follow Jesus and continue his ministry of service and charity.
This is how we live as the family of God. This life of justice, peace and charity is what we build from this house of God. Perhaps more accurately said, this the house God builds with us, who have communion in the Risen Jesus.
In short, The Resurrection is an instruction and an invitation to find our home in Jesus Christ. He is the home we turn to when we are hurting. He is our shelter. He is our altar. No matter if your home is the street, a one-bedroom apartment, a trailer or a mansion on a hill, or something in between, we find our home in Jesus, and by his resurrection he finds a dwelling place in you and me.