Bottom line: Let's rebuild our lives. Let's rebuild our Church.
Happy Easter! For those visiting, I'm Fr. Phil Bloom. This is my 10th Easter as your pastor, your spiritual father. This Holy Week I've been asking people to fill out Connect Cards. A good number returned them on Palm Sunday and I've started communicating with them via Flocknotes: brief messages I send out 5 days a week between 7:15 and 7:30 am. Some people like "Morning Joe"; this is "morning Bloom".
I am glad you are here for Easter. This is our most important day. Bishop Bob Barron said, "The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the be-all and end-all of Christian faith. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, all us priests and bishops may as well go home and get honest jobs. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, all who stand and profess Christian faith are basically crazy." St. Paul said something similar, "If Jesus is not risen from the dead, our preaching is in vain and we are the most pitiable of all people."
By his resurrection Jesus has conquered Satan, sin and death. Jesus in his glorified body has broken the bonds of time and space. That's why he can appear to Paul on the road to Damascus. That's why he can become present in the bread and wine that become his Body and Blood.
Some of you remember Star Trek. One of its appeals was that it imagined overcoming time and space. You know, "Beam me up, Scotty." When I was young, some would say I looked like Captain Picard. I've always wanted to say, "Make it so." But you know, I've been given a great power. The words I say over the bread and wine transform them into the Eucharist - Jesus' Body and Blood. Of course, not my power, but the Holy Spirit.
The Eucharist connects with the tragedy we witnessed on Monday - the devastation of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Perhaps you heard about Fr. Jean-Marc Fournier who bravely entered the burning cathedral. He did it to rescue the relics of Jesus and the saints such as St. Louis. But much more important, to rescue the Blessed Sacrament - the bread which is Jesus' Body. For us the Eucharist has greater value even than Notre Dame Cathedral.
Remember Bishop Barron saying that if Jesus didn't rise from the dead, we priests may as well go home and get honest jobs. We could say something similar about the Notre Dame Cathedral. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, Notre Dame is just one more museum.
But you know most people who entered Notre Dame didn't think it was simply one more museum. That's why people - from wealthy billionaires to humble workers; Catholics, Protestants, Jews, even atheists - have said they will pledge for the restoration of Notre Dame.
What happened on Monday - Monday of Holy Week - I take as a sign. Like the fire disfigured Notre Dame cathedral, just so sin has disfigured our church - especially hideous sins of abuse of children by men consecrated to God. These sins have devastated our church. But I can say this, we will rebuild. In the bulletin I have something about our efforts to guarantee protection of every child in our care. Because of egregious abuse cases and cover-ups (mainly in a disgraceful thirty year time period) we have lost trust. We want to regain it, not for our glory but because of Jesus.
The best analysis I have seen was by pope emeritus Benedict XVI. I encourage you to read his reflections on the abuse crisis. I refer to it in my bulletin article. Benedict writes as a man with a burden of sorrow, but also trust in God. He writes as a father deeply concerned with the souls of his children. He's not trying to shift the blame as some headlines insinuated. He wants to call us back to Jesus who has a simple, but effective plan for each one of us.
I'll be talking about that during Easter Season: God's plan that we see in the Risen Jesus. It's a simple two-step plan. I'll go into more details next Sunday.
For today we recognize that Jesus' resurrection is the be-all and end-all of our faith. We preach Christ crucified only because we know Jesus rose from the dead. In the Eucharist we worship and receive the Risen Jesus. Our church buildings from Notre Dame to St. Mary of the Valley have meaning because of the resurrection. Our lives have worth ultimately because of the resurrection.
I don't expect anyone to take this in all at once. Today it's enough to go to the tomb of Jesus. It is empty. If you go to the tomb of Mohamed, it contains his mortal remains. Same with the Buddha or Confucius. But the tomb of Jesus is empty. Today is a day of wonder and renewal. In a few moments I will invite you to renounce sin and profess your faith. Let's rebuild our lives. Let's rebuild our Church. As we heard in the Sequence: Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life attaining. Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Audio Homilies for Easter Sunday:
Homilies for Triduum 2019:
Divine Mercy Sunday homily: Two-Step Program
From Archives (Easter Sunday Homilies):
Easter Vigil Homily 1998: "At the entrance was something like a small swimming pool with three steps leading down one side and three steps leading up the other. At the Easter vigil they were led into the pool. The priest asked..."
The Meaning of the Resurrection: "Forgiveness is the one new thing that has entered the world. Without forgiveness human history is bleak. Frederick Nietzsche the philosopher who stated 'God is dead,' thought the driving force of history is resentment..."
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru