Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Easter!

Easter Day Homily 2014: Br. Clark Berge, SSF

Church of the Epiphany

Los Angeles, CA


Christ is risen!

“He has been raised just as he said!” The angels cried from the tomb.

We heard last night how the message was carried by the women to the disciples: “Christ is risen!”

“God raised Jesus from death,” Peter says in Caesarea (as we hear this morning)—and presumably everywhere else that he went.

Paul proclaimed: “If Christ were not raised from the dead, then our faith would be in vain.”


The Resurrection is what makes us Christian—not just the social teachings of the New Testament. Actually what makes us Christian is not just what we do, but believing what God has done, and is doing, in Jesus Christ in the whole world.


I think it is almost impossible to convince anybody about Christ’s Resurrection. You can talk until you are out of breath—for some folks it sticks like a bone in the throat. But what does convince, has always convinced, it is when lives are transformed: when people see the power of the Resurrection in acts of generosity and courage.


Of course, people who say they don’t believe in anything are also generous and brave, and I am tempted to explain their reluctance to ascribe God credit to a failure of religion, rather than a lack of faith. God’s power is at work in us whether we know it or not; God has never been limited by what human Beings think is creditable or possible. This is what we celebrate this morning—the impossible is made possible, believe it or not: God raised Jesus from the dead!


The proof of the Resurrection—do you need proof? The proof I’d point to is the miracle of people getting sober in parish halls and church basements around the world. Every day the impossible becomes possible: and for many, only because they turn their life and their wills over to God. It is this same God who raised Jesus from the dead who then raises them from the grave of ruined lives and shattered relationships, to a life most of us cannot even imagine when we are in the grip of addiction.


It is this “beyond imagining” quality of Resurrection that is one of its Scriptural hallmarks and stands as a corrective to our pet projects and fondest hopes.


You can only coast on liturgical excitement for so long, my friends (and this is rather exciting, isn’t it?). Sooner or later you will be forced to look into the empty tomb for yourself and decide in your hearts to claim this great power of resurrection.


And then who knows what will happen in your life? This morning graves are opened, angels speak; Mary Magdalene is empowered as a witness to the resurrection. Today miracles abound. Are you ready to surrender to this redeeming grace? Are you ready to turn your life and your will over to God? Are you ready to allow the resurrection of Jesus to agitate your mind and inspire your heart? With God, all things are possible.

“Go,” Jesus tells Mary Magdalene. “Go to my brothers.” We are to go out into the streets and neighborhoods. Go live lives transformed by grace and joy so that all people can see and know that the whole world has been transformed and renewed by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

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