Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 11, 2014

4 Easter A’14                                           •Acts 2:14, 36-41 • 1 Peter 2: 20-15 • John 10: 1-10•

Weekly Scripture Readings: Fourth Sunday of Easter

“Christ is risen!” (Truly he is risen!) I borrowed that acclamation from the Eastern rite churches.  In the years since I began using it, this greeting has come to be very meaningful for me.  It renews and deepens our awareness that we are Easter people.

“Christ is risen!” (Truly he is risen!) Good Friday is one day! We are not “Good Friday Catholics.” At this mid-point in our celebration of Easter, we hear John’s Jesus say of himself, ”I came so you might have life and have it abundantly!” We are not “Good Friday Catholics” but Easter people!

A children’s story: “The Carrot Seed” is the tale of a little boy who planted a carrot seed. His mother gently suggested that it might not grow. His father warned him to not be disappointed.  His big brother taunted him, repeating that nothing at all would come of it. Still the little boy watered, weeded and watched, day in and day out.  Finally nature, water, the soil and his efforts brought forth the biggest carrot any of them had ever seen.

I hear that story as an Easter parable. The seed must die before it births life. The buried seed grows.  In dark silence God is working among us in hidden and powerful ways.  That is the Christ mystery, the mystery of Easter.

The statement attributed to Jesus by John, ”I came so you might have life and have it
abundantly!” this pose question. Does the resurrection make any difference in the way you or I or anyone perceive and understand reality?

Christ is risen!” (Truly he is risen!) I have little idea of what that means.  I don’t know what the Gracious Mystery we name God did, or how.  There was nothing normal or natural about someone being alive beyond death.

I trust his companions are truthful in claiming they experienced the Risen One.  Initially his presence disoriented and terrified them.  Then it overturned and expanded their reality.

I have experienced the Risen Christ and as a result my life is different.  My ways of seeing and feeling reality are far different than they were. Some of that is the fruit of years of study and reading and some the result of living in authentic Christian communities.  Quite simply, because of my own experience of the Risen One, I am convinced reality is thoroughly different than it appears.  I think God works among us in hidden and powerful ways.

Recently I came upon the observations of two highly regarded individuals. Abraham Joshua Heschel was a Jewish rabbi. Charles Darwin is known as the father of evolutionary biology.

Heschel wrote this, “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement … get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.  Everything is phenomenal. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”  Darwin wrote of seeing “a genetic relative in a blade of grass, a future civilization in the atoms of a dying star, and empathy, passion and imagination in the biochemical reaction of a network of neurons.”

The Risen Christ said, I came so you might have life and have it abundantly!” It is because of my experience of the Risen One that I am so deeply aware that everything is gift. Everyday I am filled with “radical amazement” and gratitude as I discover more of this cosmos in which we live.  Every day I become increasingly aware of the amazing goodness buried deep within every person I meet. I take nothing for granted!

I am convinced “Christ is risen!” (Truly he is risen!) So here I leave you with the question. Does the resurrection make any difference in the way you perceive and understand reality?

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