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Daily Archives: April 13, 2017

Easter Sunday, 2017. A Biblical Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. EASTER LIGHT AND JOY, HOPE AND CHALLENGE.

EASTER LIGHT AND JOY, HOPE AND CHALLENGE.

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When the Easter Vigil starts it tends to be totally dark, except for the light coming from the fire burning at the entrance to the church. One year a little girl grasped her mother’s hand tightly, looked up and said: ‘Mummy, why is it so dark?’ Her mother thought for a while and then she answered: ‘To remind us what the world would have been like if Jesus had not been raised from the dead.’

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Just two days ago you and I were remembering the sufferings and death of Jesus our Saviour. As we looked at his crucified body with sorrow, love and gratitude, we came face to face with the dark side of human nature that led his enemies to torture and humiliate him before killing him on the rough wood of a cross. On that black day in Jerusalem, the capacity of human beings to hate, hurt and harm one another went completely out of control.

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Good Friday found us wondering over and over again: Why was this good man, this innocent man, this man with so much humanity and compassion, so much honesty and integrity, so much warmth and generosity, violated, humiliated, tortured and murdered?

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The motives which led his enemies to persecute and destroy him are those which have always influenced human beings to hurt and harm one another – arrogance and pride, power-seeking and ambition, envy and jealousy, anger and fear, hatred and revenge. Good Friday has reminded us of the dark side of human nature and of its associated evils – poverty, ignorance, crime, malnutrition, hunger and disease.

Fortunately, however, this is not the whole truth. In fact, it is far from it. For if we experience so much evil we also experience an abundance of goodness. The crops keep producing food for our tables. The summer heat gives way to cooling autumn breezes. Most diseases are now curable. Tyrants are sometimes overthrown. Social reforms like pensions for the needy are here to stay. Conflicts end in reconciliation. Shaky marriages get patched up. Love survives misunderstandings, thoughtlessness, and indifference. Wars come to an end. Enemies become friends. We forgive others and are forgiven. In a word, there is goodness everywhere, more goodness than evil. Clearly the influence of the Risen Christ, which is to say the light of Easter, keeps shining upon us.

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Yet there can be no doubt that one mighty struggle goes on between good and evil. It goes on in the material universe, in human societies, and within our own personalities. Evil even seems stronger than good. But it has not yet finally triumphed. Good is remarkably resilient. Though too often it seems to be in danger of being crushed, it manages to survive, and even to win many victories. The words of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of Independent India, are so true: ‘When I despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but, in the end, they always fall.’ Words from our Easter Vigil Service express the same truth in an even more appealing way: ‘The power of this holy [Easter] night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy. It casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.’

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Our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus reminds us that evil will not have the last say ether in us or in our world. It leaves us in no doubt about the ultimate triumph of goodness, not only in ourselves but everywhere around us.

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Jesus was buried at sunset, to all appearances a victim and a failure. But on the third day the sun came up on him alive and powerful, influential and victorious. It will be the same for us who celebrate Easter above all by renouncing and rejecting anything and everything dark and evil in our lives, and by renewing our determination to always walk with Jesus in his light. That’s why we are going to renew our baptismal promises today, and renewing them with conviction, commitment, and enthusiasm.

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Remember! We are turning our backs on evil and sin in every shape and form, and we are promising to keep following Jesus in a life of goodness and love, one shaped by his own shining example, and one sustained by his powerful presence and influence.

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson special photo

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Easter Sunday, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney, Australia. Let your light shine!

 Let your light shine!

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Easter Sunday is with us again! Is it with a sigh of relief that we have a ‘break’ at this time of the year? Has the subtle autumn morning chill this week, reminded us that times and seasons are changing? The Easter Liturgy speaks in harmony with Spring in the Northern Hemisphere; here we are ‘Down Under’in Australia celebrating new life, while the Willow leaves are starting to die, and the Liquid Amber trees are showing signs of colour changes in their leaves, before they drop to the ground.

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Resurrection implies new life! This is the gift we receive every morning when we wake up! Today is a totally different day from yesterday. Part of something being a gift is that someone gives, someone else receives, and there is no price tag attached. If there is a snag, it is that God gives me nothing for myself! If God gives me the gift of life today, it is because I can be a life-giving person to someone else. The Easter Liturgy celebrates the Father re breathing ‘life’ into His Son, and that ‘new life’ is to be shared among all people, and by all people.

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Easter is about hope; it is unthinkable that a Christian should ever entertain the ideas of hopelessness, even when we live in a world, which thrives, and makes money on bad news! North Korea and the USA snapping at each other’s feet; Syria and its complications make it extremely difficult to fathom ‘fake news’ from real tragedy! Jesus triumphed over darkness, sin and death, and in the words of St. Paul, ‘having given us Christ Jesus, will the Father not surely give us everything else?’ There is a tremendous need for people of hope in today’s world, and in today’s Church, because the doomsday prophets have never had it so good! The ongoing threats of terrorism all over the world, puts everyone on ‘edge’! St. Peter wrote these words to the early Christian community:
‘Always have an explanation to give to those who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.’ Peter had experienced, witnessed, and lived through many a failure, so his point about hope is deeply relevant. I am sure that he is not alone in this regard… no doubt, we can identify with him.

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Easter time is a reminder of our Baptismal responsibilities. We have very real signs of that within our communities in the welcoming and admission of our Elect. We are therefore reminded strongly, that we must be a community of hospitality, a community of mission, and a community of thanksgiving and joy. Underpinning all that, we are as St Paul’s says, ‘planted on love and built on love, so that together with all the Saints we will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, we are filled with the utter fullness of God.’ Ephesians 3:18.

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Easter time in not a ‘one off occasion’ to celebrate Christ Our Light! Easter time always offers us an enormous challenge to everyone. Do we personally believe in the community, which we call the Church, to that point of wanting to really know, and care about each other? Or are we sometimes tempted to see the Sacramental life of the Church as some kind of Spiritual Service Station, where we fill up every now and then, tap and go? The Sacramental Community nourishes us, and we are called to nourish it by our active participation and genuine outreach to newcomers! We must be passionate about belonging to the Body of Christ which is called the Church! We must be people who can inspire and be inspired; we must be motivated and urged along, because of the love of Christ which has been freely given to us….not just for ourselves, by a long shot; but to invite, and be Christ’s loving face, in a world that frowns so often. The Passion and Cross of Jesus, is the greatest Sign of God’s love for us, according to St. Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists. In the Second Reading for the liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, we hear the author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminding us that Jesus learnt obedience through suffering and silent tears! That means that Jesus learnt to truly listen to His Father’s Will, and also to the woes and joys of God’s people. Easter is the greatest invitation to listen with our body mind and spirit to God’s Word, inviting us through Scripture, Sacramental experience and Christ’s living Body; His people; to be Christ our light! Our Liturgy must never be just cold rubrics, as though we are reading a Recipe to make a cake! Liturgy by its very nature speaks about everyone being involved in Sacramental experiences which can be understood, engaging and sustaining, so that we are then ‘sent out’ in Mission, and return next week for more nourishment with the community.

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We must be a living community which breathes Christ; and is energized by His Spirit-filled breath. We must never fall into the trap of just maintaining ‘the plant’ like that of a Corporation; we must never be smug enough to think that WE have all the answers, and are fearful of constructive conversations with all people, from all races and creeds on earth. We must never be people who think that they see God’s will only in Black and White and Mono sound! God’s will is manifested in living colour, surround sound, and in 3D.jesus-washing-feet-tht00nu9p6

Easter, invites us to be daring and confident, without being arrogant and pompous in Christ’s mission, entrusted to us as foot washers! How can anyone speak the truth in love, without listening to the truth in humility? The Easter message, by value of the very meaning of the word Easter, means that we all must be creative, innovative and spirit-filled as we grow in our Communities, and as the living body Christ, see new horizons and dream new dreams! No one can be left isolated, unwanted and devalued; we in Parish communities did not choose each other, we have been randomly placed within each other’s care, and pastoral concern, always respecting cultural norms.

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We pray that through this Easter Season, we will be stronger in our hope, lively in our love for one another, and sensitive to see, with the eyes of faith, the saving hand of God in our lives and within our community. God Bless you and your families.

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Fr Kevin Walsh
Sydney. New South Wales. Australia
Email: kevin.w3@bigpond.com Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/

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