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Easter Sunday April 4, 2010

 
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Fr.Paul Weinberger
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Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:56 pm    Post subject: Easter Sunday April 4, 2010 Reply with quote

Easter Sunday
April 4, 2010
Homily by: Fr. Paul Weinberger
St. William the Confessor Catholic Parish
Greenville, TX

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark and saw the stone removed from the tomb.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
Amen

Each time that God told Moses to speak to Pharaoh in Egypt, God told Him to let His people go so that they might worship Him in the desert. Pharaoh refused and again and again the plagues came. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he would not listen to God. Pharaoh had in the Israelites, slaves, who worked seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. This was the way it had always been for the Pharaoh and he wanted it to stay that way. God wanted it another way. The Book of Genesis tells us that God made man and on the seventh day He rested as a model for men to rest on the seventh day.

Today is Easter Sunday, which is the greatest day of the year on the calendar and many people come to Church on this day and on Christmas, but throughout the rest of the year no longer attend Mass. If you happen to be in that category, have an open heart and mind today to learn another way from Moses.

The window above the Tabernacle is darkened and will not be lighted again until after Pentecost, which ends the season of Easter. Last night it was totally dark in this Church and the Easter Fire was made at the back. From that blessed fire the Easter Candle was lighted. Everyone in Church had individual candles that were lighted from the Easter Candle starting in the front and the light spread beautifully throughout the Church. It is a symbol of what God wanted to do with Israel, to spread His light to the nations. This is what Christ wants to do with us.

The Crucifixion scene above the Tabernacle speaks of the death of Christ. For these fifty days the Church emphasizes Christ, our Light. Yes, Christ was born, He lived, He taught, He suffered and died and on the third day He arose again. Christ is our light, and that is what was chanted as the Easter Fire was brought into a darkened Church.

Pharaoh had a different idea about worship and so many people today have a different idea about worship. I remember with great fondness how, as a kid, after Mass on Sunday we always went over to my grandparent’s and had lunch or dinner, spending the rest of the day there. Most of the time we stayed into the evening before finally going home. We did this week after week and I know it sounds really boring, but I am so glad we did because I didn’t have my grandparents around for very long. There is probably a connection between me visiting them every week and them not being around very long. [Laughter] Anyway, there was a sense of resting in the Lord and being with family and friends. Today you can read in the newspaper or hear on the radio or internet that Sundays are now loaded down with everything such as sports. The all day tournament? If it is Sunday, put it there; nothing happens on Sunday. And we are a Christian nation!

The Lord wanted to take Israel out of Egypt so they could worship Him, but Pharaoh wouldn’t have it. There is a plant near here that employs a lot of people and there are parishioners here, who miss Mass two Sundays out of every month because at that particular plant they have to work Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 7pm or they lose their job. There is no way they are going to make it to Mass. What are we going to do, have Mass at 9pm on Sunday night? “But Father, business is business!” I agree that business is business but worship is worship and just as dedicated as people are at making a dollar we should be more intent on worshipping God!

Last week with the 40 hours of Confessions here, and during all of Lent, I have been so inspired by so many people coming to Confession and saying, “I have not gotten it, not been following God the way I should and I am sorry. With His grace I would like to start again.” This is beautiful and every time it is experienced it is beautiful. When I go to Confession there is one sin that I repeat right off the bat, and I guarantee you that I will be repeating it until my last Confession. “I don’t love God enough.” I don’t love God as He should be loved, and I pray that God in His mercy will help me day by day to love Him more and more. But, I don’t love God enough. Fortunately however, I know how to worship God.

God came into this world two-thousand years ago and took the flesh of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was born. He taught us how to worship Him, but we turn away from God and the true worship of God and turn back into the darkness like the Israelites when they complained, “Back in Egypt we had plenty to eat! Why did we ever leave? Oh yes, there was that part about slavery.” Some of the Israelites didn’t mind being like the hamster on the treadmill. The hamster just runs and runs, bless his heart, and when he gets off he is out of breath. He takes a drink of water, eats a pellet, and he is still a fat hamster. Believe me, I know the feeling. [Laughter] The hamster didn’t get anywhere; he is on a treadmill. Some of the Israelites complained to Moses that they preferred the fleshpots of Egypt because they got a guaranteed meal and plenty of work. Yes, it was called slavery. We are so similar to the Israelites in every way, but God is very merciful.

When most people die, they hope that Psalm 23 will be read or chanted at their funeral. “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. In verdant pastures He gives me repose; beside restful waters He feeds me. He refreshes my soul.” This Psalm is beautiful; every week that goes by, we need rest from being in the work-a-day world, as they say, and there is only one source for rest and that is that factory in South Dakota. No, no, sorry, it is Taiwan. No, no, there is only ONE source of rest, Christ our Light. You can try other things; you can go out and look high and low, or low and low, which is what most people do, and you won’t find rest. It is like going to the fair and ordering cotton candy, having cotton candy for breakfast, lunch and for dinner. I mentioned this at the last Mass and one little boy really gave his attention to me. [Laughter] Anyway, think of eating cotton candy all those meals and having no water. That is what happens when we don’t rest in the Lord; the world cannot give us the water that will refresh us. We turn back toward Egypt and forsake the only One, Who can refresh us.

Jesus said, “Come to me all you who find life burdensome and I will refresh you.” Jesus is the only source of rest and we are called to rest in the Lord. If you have been away from Church for a while, think about how you long to be at peace and rest. Everyday in the Divine Office we pray the Canticle of Zachariah, called the Benedictus. It is St. Luke’s Gospel, chapter 1, verse 68, and following. “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel. He has come to His people and set them free.” Later in the same passage we read, “free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life.” When we don’t worship Him the only other option is fear. Then we begin to roll down hill like a bowling ball out of control. We fear everything; we fear the morning, the night, the dust, and question everything. We are not made for fear. Whenever our optimum word is fear or being overwhelmed we are not into the worship that liberates us from this fear.

Jesus is the light that pushes back the darkness, and the Israelites were made, by God, to worship Him. God shows us how to worship Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass on Sunday is Easter Sunday; every seven days is Easter Sunday, No, I am not making it up and it isn’t Fr. Paul’s slant on it. This is the constant teaching of Christ and His Church, that you and I need the rest as well as the food for the journey.

In St. John’s Gospel, chapter 6, it is centered around the Passover. This was Passover weekend. Jesus said very clearly, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life within you.” Notice how there is zero wiggle room in that statement. You have no life, rest, or water that refreshes you and the world becomes a place of one fear linked to another and another, and there is no protecting yourself or no way to make progress in this life.

Jesus shows us true worship at the Last Supper. He took bread and said the blessing, broke it and gave it to His friends saying, “Take this and eat, this is My Body.” Then He took the cup filled with wine, said the blessing and gave it to His friends. He said, “Take this and drink; this is the cup of My Blood, the Blood of the New Covenant.” Search the Bible front to back and you will not find “New Covenant” anywhere else in the Bible. The Covenant was found back in the Old Testament given to the Israelites through Moses, and even Moses said that God would send a Prophet greater than he, later on. Jesus is that fulfillment of that prophecy. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the only worship that God desires from me and you. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection is a requirement from Him. As a cradle Catholic, a lot of times I referred to Mass in this way, “I gotta go to Mass.” It sounds like, “I gotta get this tooth looked after; I gotta pay my taxes.” These are things I am not looking forward to. Yet, the only place I want to be is near Our Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and with my family and friends. That is happening right now. Isn’t it great when you can combine those two?

The world will tell you that you are going to find rest here and there, but when was the last time that the world produced it, because you know, they closed that factory in South Dakota and they retooled in Taiwan. The only place we can get that rest we are looking for is Christ our Light. We are free to worship Him without fear. If we turn away from that true worship, we turn toward fear and slavery.

St. Mary Magdalene is the best example, and she is in the Gospel. In that last Station of the Cross we see Mary Magdalene; she was there when Christ was buried but she had to go home because the Sabbath was about to begin. No work could be done on the Sabbath and she wasn’t going to break the law to be near Christ, but she was watching and waiting for the moment when the Sabbath would finally end and then like a race horse she was out of the gate and ran to the tomb to be near Christ. The Gospel tells us that she was the first witness of the Resurrection. Now this is the woman, a lot of the Church Fathers contend, that was caught in public adultery and the one that was about to be stoned. Jesus said to her, “Nor do I condemn you; go and avoid this sin in the future.” She never went back to that sin but focused her eyes on Christ. The only thing that separated her from Christ after His death was the Sabbath, but her heart was there. She ran to the tomb and found it empty. Through her tears she turned to the garden and saw a man, thinking he was the gardener. Adam was a gardener. He was the first gardener and Christ is the new gardener. She asked him if he knew where Christ had been taken so she could go and get Him. Jesus said one word to her that set her on fire; He said, “Mary!” Her Master’s voice said her name and she knew immediately that it was Jesus.

This is the woman we should all look to. She loved God enough, with all her being, but I don’t love God enough. I say that to my shame. But, I know that this Holy Sacrifice can transform me and raise me up. The only thing God the Father wants is one thing and that thing is a person, and that Person is Jesus. You know the Novena of Mass intentions that you submitted and see right there next to the Tabernacle? Just like the Israelites were supposed to be a light to the nations, you and I are supposed to be a new people of God, bringing this light to the world, and a lot of people took the time to write down their intentions for the living and the dead to place there by the Tabernacle and are being lifted up in prayer to the Father. “Well Father, I don’t need to do that, God knows what I need or what I want!” That is just an excuse to be bone idle and lazy. The Novena sheet said not to enclose an offering so it is free, free to worship Him without fear and yet we long for the slavery of Egypt. St. Mary Magdalene shows us another way.

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark and saw the stone removed from the tomb.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
Amen
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