SERMON 23 APRIL 2017
Exodus 14.1-end, 15.20-21;
Ps 16; 1 Peter 1.3-9; John 20.19-end
Preaching today, Low Sunday, is a bit of a challenge - it is bound to be an anti-climax after the amazing Easter celebrations and yet it is the day when Brethren of the Community of the Resurrection try to celebrate the Resurrection together. Many CR Brothers are away for Holy Week and Easter helping in parishes; now we are all back.
Easter Week is indeed the most exciting time to be alive, to be still alive, for who knows where we’ll be next Easter? Some still alive are experiencing Resurrection joy not just in a scholarly way or in the imagination. Not just imagining in our minds what it must have been like for Jesus’s pals to be there, rather apprehensively, together in Jerusalem but actually immersed in joy like when they see Him, eat and speak with Him – throughout this week, again and again we say: Christ is risen ! HE HAS RISEN INDEED.
Yes, he has !
Just as it was for his closest friends, we need something more than just being told He is Risen. Perhaps it is more difficult for us, who have celebrated quite a few Easters, seen them come and go time and again. We can be reduced to comparing variations in the way the Liturgy is celebrated in different years, here and in different places. “That was very effective”, we say, like connoisseurs of a play or a musical.
For a whole week, we have
been exposed to the most forceful language, sung (well or badly), spoken in many
different ways. “Just believe, can’t you”.
Yes, God our Father Creator
can and does bring good out of the most appalling evil, pain,
murderous cruelty, excruciating suffering. He’s done it once for all. He’s
done it for all, for all of us, for all time.
Once for all, at the first
Easter day, when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week .Once and for all.
If we are immersed in acid,
we die in appalling pain. If immersed in joy, it is the opposite; we live in
Dying with Jesus in our
penitence, we have died with him to sin. When you come down to basics, being
immersed in joy right up to the neck, is what this week is about.
Our life is changed. I do not
know about you but I had almost forgotten my bitchy, hyper-critical self. Easter
joy makes me feel and act lovingly to every one (for how long?). That is
what being immersed in joy does. Remember walking down the street right up off
the ground, after making the first Confession? That is being immersed in the joy
of the Resurrection, because that joy is the experience of sins forgiven. Your
and my sins forgotten, totally abolished. We can live in Community, under the
same roofs, in Resurrection joy because the Lord has died for us all and risen
for us all, once and for all.
Long may it last.