Fr. Rob Jack on Easter Sunday
This is a guest post by Fr. Rob Jack, who appears frequently on Sacred Heart Radio and teaches at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West. It is his Easter Sunday homily for 2012.
Today we celebrate the most important event that has ever occurred in the world. Jesus of Nazareth, born of the Virgin Mary was crucified and now he has been raised. The thing we fear the most, death has been conquered by the self-offering of Christ for us on the cross so that we could be freed from the slavery of sin. We know in faith that God the Father has accepted this offering of love because he raised his Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostles are witnesses to this reality. They saw the empty tomb. Later they will see the risen Jesus and touch him. The saints are witnesses to this reality. The resurrection inspired them with the Holy Spirit and given them the courage to proclaim Jesus’ message: God is with us. God has saved us. God loves us. It does not get any more complicated than that. They proclaimed this message in the face of persecution, ridicule and even death. They never stopped proclaiming it and they desire that we still proclaim it loudly today.
Where do we get the authority to make such a statement? What is it that has given us the courage? What have we received to spur us onward in faith even when everything seems against us? It is really something quite simple. We have it all in common. It is the great equalizer among all Christians. It is the sacrament that makes Christians to be Christians. It is the Sacrament of Baptism. Many of us have taken our baptism for granted. Most of us received it when we were infants, because our parents knew the most important thing they could give us is a sharing in their faith. Our only memory of it may be a candle, the baptismal garment and a few pictures. It is something of the past. Others may have received it later in their lives, but in the rush of all the things going on, we have failed to reflect on the power and the grace of the Sacrament.
For this reason, every Easter Sunday, we renew their baptismal promises. We are asked once again to renounce sin and evil and profess our faith in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are reminded that our life has its roots in the gift of God’s unconditional love. We are reminded that the wealth of the inheritance of the children of God is ours. That wealth is the life of the Sacraments especially the Holy Eucharist, the Word of God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the sure teaching of the Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, all of which empower us to be who God has formed us to be, a Holy People, configured to Christ through his death so that we might live forever in his love. Think about the power of the gift we have been given.
It seems that we have forgotten what Baptism means for us. When we face struggles in life, we often come up with a variety of excuses for our situations. We act as if we are trapped by forces out of our control. If I was only smarter, or quicker or better looking or richer, life would be so much more fulfilling and joyful. Are those things more powerful than the love of God? Are those things more powerful than the truth that God has made all things possible for us through Jesus Christ?
Remember your baptism! Allow the peace of Christ and the power of the Risen Lord fill you with courage and strength to know the Truth and live it. You have been clothed with Christ, use the gift you have been given. Offer your life to God everyday in prayers of thanksgiving and petition. Put God first as he has put you first. Have confidence in him as he has confidence in you.
Many of us see that the world is in terrible shape and we are wondering why God is not doing anything about it. Could it be that God, who has given us the Spirit of his Son to make known the power of his love is asking the same thing about us? We will not change the world or our lives through laws or philosophies or governments. Rather, God can and will change the world through our actions of selfless love and generosity and faithful prayer and service and become worthy of the name child of God.
As we renew our baptismal promises today and are sprinkled again with the waters of rebirth, let us ask the Lord to unleash the power of baptism in our hearts again. Let it rise to the top of our hearts and souls and let it fill us with the Power of Jesus Christ, who has shown us his love, made us his brothers and sisters, and makes every day a new opportunity to see his wondrous presence in the world.
This homily also appeared on Fr. Jack’s blog, RevRobJack.com.