Easter Sunday

10.04. 2023 | Homily

 

We have just lived through an amazing week in the history of the world. Last Sunday, we remembered the day Jesus entered Jerusalem with a crowd of people who welcomed him. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” But not everyone was so happy. One of his closest friends handed him over to the authorities; Jesus was arrested, condemned to death and executed on the Cross on Calvary. “At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb”, in which Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried him. But death could not hold Jesus, and He rose from the dead. Today, we celebrate that new life. Jesus promised us that, if we believe in Him, we will never die for eternity. He offered us a share in eternal life.

Since the earliest days of the Church, Christians have celebrated this new life in the sacrament of baptism. In those early days, people who wanted to become Christians walked into the water, usually in a river, and when they came out again they began a new phase in their lives. The white garment at a baptism is a sign of a new beginning. When they are baptised, new Christians proclaim what they believe (if it is a child, someone else proclaims it on their behalf): they say they believe in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, and they believe in the Holy Spirit. But before going into the water, new Christians have to declare that they have pushed away everything that is evil. Before they can say what they believe, they have to renounce Satan, all his works and all his empty show.

In a few minutes, you will renew the promises you made at your baptism. This year, it may be good to remember the things you rejected in order to become a Christian: everything that is evil. It was a serious promise, and it should be a serious promise today. If you are sincere as you renew the promises of your baptism, it could be like starting again as a Christian. Now that really would be new life, the new life of Easter.

There is no way that you can banish everything that is evil in your life today. If you think you can, you will certainly fail, and that can make you sad, discouraged or even depressed. Sometimes our bad habits are deeply ingrained into us, and we are often unable to see our failings. It is usually other people who see them first, and when they point them out to us, we often react sharply, because we are convinced they are wrong.

We need to hear the truth about ourselves, even when it is hard to hear it, or it makes us uncomfortable. Jesus told us that the truth would set us free, and He offered to help us, by sending the Holy Spirit, “the spirit of truth”, who will guide us to all truth, even the truth about ourselves. It is a good idea to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance in all things, but perhaps especially for guidance in understanding who you really are, what you are really like. Asking the Holy Spirit to tell you the truth about yourself is the most honest and humble thing you could possibly do. When you are convinced that you should be a better person, you need to know what things about you need to be corrected; otherwise you cannot become the better person you would like to be. We need help to find the truth, and particularly when we want to know the truth about ourselves. Other people can be brutal when they think they are simply being honest about us, but the Holy Spirit can guide us calmly and quietly to the truth.

When you renew your baptismal promises, you will declare publicly that you renounce Satan, all his works and all his empty show. But if you are not sure how evil is holding you back, remember that you can ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide. The Spirit of Truth is able to reveal to you the things that you do not yet know about yourself. Once you know yourself honestly and truly, you will be able to see your failings and your weak points, and then you will be able to begin the task of turning your back on Satan, all his works and all his empty show. Then the goodness in your heart can do its work properly and you can be a true child of God, guided by the light of Christ, whom we welcomed at the Easter Vigil.

Fr. Peter

 

 

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