Archive for April, 2007

Are You an Evangelist?

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

April 26, 2007

Thursday, Third Week of Easter

“Are You an Evangelist?”

Acts 8: 26-40; John 6: 44-51

Dc. Larry Brockman

Are you an evangelist? 

My bet is that most of you would say no.  Now I’m not talking about the group of Christians called Evangelists.  And I’m not talking about TV Evangelists.  But just a plain ordinary Evangelist, like Philip in the first reading.  Philip heard the promptings of the spirit- fruits of his own Baptism and Faith, and played the role of an Evangelist.  Still fresh from the Euphoria of Jesus’ Resurrection, Philip echoed what he knew about the scriptures and Jesus.  And so, he converted and baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch. 

Each of you is in contact every day with people like the Ethiopian Eunuch: people who are seeking the truth; people who read about their faith, and don’t understand; and people who ask questions- maybe not with their lips, but with their eyes, their attitude, or their body language.  All of us, by virtue of our Baptisms are called to be evangelists in words and deeds. 

At this special time of the Church Year when the Resurrection is fresh in our minds, we have an opportunity to spread our Easter Joy to others.  If you hear a little voice inside prompting you to be a Philip to a friend, coworker, or relative, try to respond to the urgings of the spirit.  The Gospel tells us that no one can come to the Father except through Jesus.  Jesus is the word of God.  You all can carry the word of God to others. 

So, what about you?  Are you an Evangelist? 

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

  April 15, 2007

Homily

Second Sunday of Easter

Divine Mercy Sunday

Acts 5: 12-16; Rev 1: 9a-11a, 12-13, 17-19; John 20: 19-31

Dc. Larry Brockman

 

How quickly we forget.  How soon after Easter everything returns to normal.  Just a week after Easter and the Resurrection and its meaning are already fading as we become embroiled in the turmoil of our daily lives. 

We are all kind of like Thomas with the nail marks in the arms and the legs and the pierced side.  They were the realities to Thomas; the resurrection was too much to believe.  And it just didn’t seem relevant.  The nails are like the job we went back to; the kids we take care of every day; and the aches and pains that all of us experience with our earthly bodies.  These are the things of the here and now.  This is what we have to deal with right now- what is real, not what was promised.  So, it’s just as easy for us to think that “The Resurrection and the Kingdom” are something way out there in the future as it was for Thomas to discount the words of his 10 friends. 

But, Jesus Resurrection is real and the Kingdom is now.  It is up to us to make that count now in our lives.  The Easter story and John’s revelation tell us that.  In Acts, the Apostles are described as “all together”.  That doesn’t just mean physically together.  The sense of the Greek original is different.  It means that they were all “of one mind”- all of one belief.  These apostles believed, and reinforced one another’s belief.  They worked miracles because they really believed, believed with all their hearts, that Jesus Resurrection was real and it meant that they, too, would experience the resurrection and everlasting life.  And so, the Spirit was with them. and they could do incredible things.   

Now, after their conversion the Apostles did not separate themselves from the world.  Rather, they lived in the world and dealt with the realities of life.  In fact, after Pentecost, they went out and lived separate lives, evangelizing throughout the World.  Thomas took the Church to India, and Bartholomew went to Persia, for example.  They believed strongly, and let God’s spirit work in them to do the will of the Father. 

Several decades after the scene in today’s Gospel, while in exile on Patmos, John wrote to people just like us- people who hadn’t seen the Risen Christ, people who were suffering from tremendous persecution by the Roman Emperor, people who were torn by divisions in their churches.  John wrote of the “Distress, the Kingdom, and the Endurance” to the people of 7 Churches in Asia Minor near Patmos.  Just like the people John wrote to, we are challenged to believe even though we have not seen.  We, in this Church, have only the scriptures.  They record the Church’s handing down of the events of the Resurrection.  We are also bonded together by the “Distress, the Kingdom, and Endurance”. 
The implications of the Resurrection on our attitude on life should be as remarkable as for the Apostles, not just passing moments of joy on an Easter Sunday.  Because the Kingdom that Christ offers all of us who believe is everlasting happiness, with our enemies out of the picture.  That Kingdom begins here and now, yet it is something that transcends this world and all the suffering and evil in it.  That’s what the Resurrection should mean to all of us- a path blazed by Jesus himself for all of us to everlasting life.  Jesus tells us that we are blessed who believe and haven’t seen.  And the Kingdom and everlasting life is how we are blessed. 

But there is also the Distress to deal with- all of us, in our humanity, feel that distress  In the lives that each of us has been given.  The distress of earthly life doesn’t go away- But the Resurrection helps us to see that distress in the context of the Kingdom.  Just as John exhorts the 7 churches in Revelation to hang in there, with endurance, we are challenged to hang in there with endurance.  Endurance means that we embrace our lives with the kind of endurance Christ practiced knowing of the certainty of our Resurrection and everlasting life. 

How can we do that?  Well, the first step is to really believe.  You can start with the Eucharist in just a few minutes.  Jesus is present in the Eucharist just as he was for Thomas in Solomon’s Portico.  And when we really believe that in our hearts,.and resolve to accept God’s will for us in our lives, including the distress and suffering that are part of his will for us,  then we will experience the divine mercy of God- Forgiveness for all of our transgressions against the will of God.  We will be filled with the grace of God, and feel the Spirit working in our lives.  It is fitting that on this Divine Mercy weekend, we make that beginning. 

On Obedience and Suffering

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

 April 1, 2007

Palm Sunday

Is 50:4-7; Phil 2: 6-11; Luke 24: 14 – 23:56

Dc. Larry Brockman

Suffering.  Jesus endured such terrible suffering.  The Movie “The Passion” graphically displays that suffering and it makes all of us uncomfortable.  But, the real theme of today’s readings is not the suffering, but Obedience. 

Just as Isaiah had to be obedient and speak the Word of God no matter what happened to him, so Jesus had to be obedient and live out the life that God had ordained for him.  Paul put it well, that Jesus emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave. 

The Passion demonstrates that it is hard to be obedient  It was hard for Jesus as well, as the agony in the garden attests.  Obedience to the will of God means accepting what God has in mind for us.  Sometimes, that’s the good times.  For me, my grandson’s birth a few weeks ago was a great time.  But, it also includes the bad times.  Like when my wife and I lost a son to crib death many years ago. 

Jesus bore great suffering, but he did so for the love of his Father.  He was, above all else, obedient.  He took on our sins, and redeemed us all in the process, earning everlasting life for all of us.  And that’s the point.  No matter what the suffering associated with our obedience, it’s worth it because the Kingdom of God and everlasting life are just on the other side. 

No matter who you are, you are ordained for both good times and bad times.  It’s our obedience to the will of God that counts.  We willfully accept and relish the good times.  But quite naturally, dread the suffering.  And yet, everyone faces suffering and death.  Everyone has illnesses, disabilities, limitations- physical and mental, poverty, and loneliness- something, whether it’s visible or not.  Even those who are seemingly always blessed- they are challenged to be good stewards of those blessings.  Nobody is exempt from God’s challenge to do his will.

I would ask you to reflect on today’s Gospel in a new light.  That no matter how dreadful the suffering was, Jesus bore it with dignity and obedience.  We are challenged to live his example and do the same.