Trinity Sunday Homily

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“I Have Much More to Tell You” is the homily title today, taken from Jesus’ lips

Could we imagine all that there is of which Jesus want to tell us, beyond what we know now?   Oh, He says that is MORE (even MUCH MORE) that our Lord and Savior Jesus wants to tell us.   To his loyal apostles, He adds, “but you cannot bear it right now– this receiving more– but The Spirit Whom I will send will help you receive MORE.  So, cooperate with the Spirit of Truth coming to you.”

I have much more to tell you.   That line and theme does sounds like a joke on me, who always wants to tell a lot in my homily messages, in these short times I have in the pulpit here to preach and teach and exhort and inspire you.   To some I have succeeded and satisfied you.  To others, I held your interest, but maybe not so much inspired you with my subjects or points.  To still some others, you just did not want me to take long to say it– for one reason or another– and some liked my preaching, and others didn’t.

Don’t go too long, Father, as we can only take so much!’  I have seen that message on a few faces in the pews numerous times through the decade.  A few of you have voiced your displeasure with homilies of mine that normally have gone beyond the five-and-a-half-minutes you wanted me to take.   Yes, I’ll admit it, I have served some overflowing plates of preaching through the decade here.   I just have wanted you to have a lot to consider for your faith growth, but maybe now and then I could have pulled up a bit shorter in some messages, and said:  I have much more to tell you… but not today!   And some of you might have said: ‘Whew!  Thanks for the brevity this time.’

I could make this Holy Trinity real short today, too, but just saying one line:  The Mystery of the Holy Trinity is just that– a mystery.

And I could move us then right away into the Creed, and have Mass done in 39 minutes………………..   Sorry, that would be too obvious and trite here!

In this time of year, Pentecost into Trinity into Body and Blood Sunday, the Gospel takes us into John’s teen chapter messages.   And there is a line in John 17 that sums up our journey into these liturgies of The Church, heading into Summer.   It’s verse 3 that goes “And THIS is eternal life, that they might KNOW You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent…”   We need to know God and via His revelation in Jesus Christ.    It’s gospel nuggets like that which compel me to try to stir your thirst for knowledge in the Holy, and give you all I can from the pulpit, albeit in my imperfect manner and delivery and clarity.   I just wanted to stir you, and myself, to hunger and thirst for the knowledge of God, even in this life on earth, before what comes in the next.

What is it today I am pondering aloud for you?   It is about Jesus – Who has always existed as the Wisdom at the Father’s side – who came as Revelation to us.  Jesus said it that “no one has seen God in His Infinite Wonder, but now through Him we can have revelation… even that he or she who has seen Jesus can know the Father!

Yes, even those who have experienced Him, sweet Jesus… and experienced His saving love… His enlightenment….His bridge to the Spirit of Truth— can realize that God is seeking that hunger for He has much more to tell us, show us, and love in us.  Do we desire it?  Do we desire it?

The answer through the generations has been, YES, some people have really desired Him.  And found Him.   There is a title for Jesus in that category, as He is called The Desire of Nations.  It comes in Scripture in Haggai 2, verse 7.  Those digging for knowledge in the Bible can find God there in that verse coming fully alive to you in a Bible meditation or study.

Let me read it aloud for you out of the prophet Haggai:  “I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come” (Haggai 2:7). This fascinating verse apparently has a double meaning. It applies first to the rebuilding of the temple by Zerubbabel, and if you know a bit of your Jewish Testament history, the remnant steadfast Jews wanted their center and touch-point of God back with them.  God’s prophet says that in that spirit for a rebuilt Faith, then God would promise to such that the wealth of the nations would flow into their temple in Jerusalem.

Jesus is that rebuilt temple, as He said in conclusion of His ministry, ‘there is a temple here that will be raised up in three days, for all the find their touch-point with God.’   And Jesus arose.  And He lives, and His Body now is His temple for people to live in for the wealth of God and eternity to be found.  “The Kingdom of God is among you,” Jesus said.   “It is within you,” Jesus said.   “I am a king, but as it is, my kingdom is not here like an earthly one, but it is with My Father…”  “I and the Father are one.”…  I am the Resurrection and Eternal life… believe upon Me… and live!”

In this Year of Grace, let us celebrate the grace or favor of God letting us to know Him.

So where does that leave us on Trinity Sunday?  With accepting that Jesus alone can satisfy our desire to know – and He bestows on us the Spirit of truth to make it possible for an eternal relation with the Trinity.  

That it is going to take a lot of steps to grow and reach the place where God is ready to receive us.  We can take heart, the Holy Spirit is given for us to attain it.   We just need cooperate.   With a desire to know God more.

Yes, today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.   There is Mystery in God, but He wants to unveil mystery to us to become knowledge and love.  What I will exhort you on this Sunday is that the Trinity – an eternal relationship with the Triune God – is the one thing that will make you or me happy. We have a lot of misconceptions about what will make us happy;  knowing God will make us happy.  Knowing God is Life.  So said Jesus– John 17:3.  Hold on to that verse!

I know one more thing that can make you happy today:  for me to stop my homily right here, at the 5 1/2 minute mark.  Amen!

Did it!

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Pentecost Homily

Before the homily’s preaching start, I just wanted to mark a few things.   The full initiation occurs at our 930 Mass this weekend for the joining of the Catholic Faith of one “Billy” Vali for Pentecost Sunday.   It is nice to have a conversion moment on Pentecost Sunday, as one remembers the first Pentecost having a lot of conversions take place (and baptisms) due to St. Peter’s preaching ministry that first official day of Christianity.

Baptism is the entrance into the Catholic Faith of believers, and St. Edward the Confessor just had her 1000th baptism last weekend, as Deacon Barnes baptized Dylan Albright, child of Nathaniel and Erin.    So they tell me, # 1,000.  (Billy is #1001!)

Today I wear my original Holy Spirit chasuble and also hand-made stole vestment from Pentecost 1988 and my first Mass that Sunday over in St. Pius X, when this feast day landed on May 22nd that year.  They were gifts from both my godparents.

We had our Live Christ Seminars all day Saturday, and thank you to our presenters and parish participants, looking for ways of renewal to the parish and to ourselves.  It was so appropriate for the program to come on this particular weekend!

Pentecost is the Church’s beginning, so, Happy Birthday to all of you, who are in the Church.   It’s 2017 years of God with us in Jesus, since the Annunciation, and it has been 1984 years since Pentecost, making 2033 becoming the official 2000th year since Jesus founded the Church in the Descent of the Holy Spirit to the whole body of faith.

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Homily.     What does Pentecost bring to us?  It brings Peace.  Power.  Participation.   (And) Presence.  A Holy Presence.

4 P’S.

Pentecost brings peace.  The gospel tells us today Jesus is Resurrected in the power of the spirit and now he speaks to His followers with “peace be with you.”   In those four words much is said by it, but one thing is for certain:  Humankind now is given a soulful reconciliation and serenity with God.  He tells His apostles to pass this peace around of His ministry of reconciliation.  In Jesus’ Resurrection and Exaltation, matters have now been opened up between God and humankind in a friendship between God and man.  Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.   The broken and separated relationship is mended with God, and He on His part has done the work via His Son for people to be friends again with Him.

This Peace is a renewal not just of the soul but also of the heart and mind and body. God can now dwell in us, and He can bless us in our thoughts, our will, and begin offering us ways for our bodies to become holy.   This Peace would open up a possible and personal and communal knowing of God (As Jn. 17:3 says:  “And this is the eternal life offered of our knowing of God now.”)  Things now can be perceived by the believer into a sense of the Sacred and the eternal, even in faith journey on earth.  There is much peace to realize in that new connection.  I went to a store not long ago called Bed Bath and Beyond, and I was wearing my collar while shopping, and a person walked up to me and said “do you work here?”   It made me laugh, that, what would a priest be doing being employed by that store (?) but I quickly turned some humor and evangelism into the situation, saying:  “Well, they don’t pay me, as I don’t know much about beds and bath supplies, but, as a matter of fact, I do know much about the Beyond,  Bed–no.  Bath–no.  Beyond–yes!  I know the Lord Who leads us to know Him and eternal life!!  How may I help you?!

The formula into experiencing the Beyond is heard in the Gospel today:  “receive the Holy Spirit” and Let God breathe on you the Gift of His Spirit.

Pentecost brings power.  This is my second point of 4 P’s of Pentecost.  Pentecost brings power and in Acts 1:8 Jesus tells them, that upon their expectant and open waiting on the Spirit, then they shall “receive power when the Spirit comes upon you.” The word power in original texts is “dunamis.”  This means a dynamic working within a believer and for the body of believers.   It really is meant to mean dynamite.   The Spirit can be dynamite power.   I like to use the word empowerment in this context.  God has empowerment to give, as He shares His Spirit and His ministry and Life with us– in Pentecost.  We have empowerment as a Church to be the instruments of the Lord and helpers and givers for His good purposes.   In our epistle text to the Philippians today, Paul uses the three words of people with gifts and services and holy workings as demonstrations of that power/empowerment shared in the community of faith.

In parishes we have people making gifts, like in tithing for the Church’s going, or in people giving their gift of organizing people or ministries.  We have committees of volunteers in the parish who are very giving to you in the time they spend with me or one another for parish life.  In this weekend, we just have the Live Christ Seminars for all day Saturday, which was presented by a group of people as a gift to us to show how to renew the parish, even as we ourselves get more renewed in Jesus.   In the category of services we have people in the parish who serve meals or buy food for the pantry ministry, and others serving as coaches to lead teams and bless young people, and a person this week told me about their now being a life coach in their Catholic faith as a volunteer service, much like doing spiritual direction.  In the category of Ministry in the parish, you can see we have altar servers, sacristans, council members, singers,and so much lay ministry.    All of that can be under Pentecost as power, or empowered people doing the work of the Lord.  Plus all you do in home or work or school or recreation as ministering to others.

(to be written out later….)

Ascension and Graduation Day at St. Pius: The Connection (A homily)

A Homily for Graduation—   with directions for slides                                                          [Begin with Gospel Slide staying up.  Gospel is Matthew 28:16-20]

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The SPX Graduation and the Ascension/Pentecost Mystery we presently celebrate

Hello class!  For those of you who even joined the school from the start, hello from someone who also came aboard around then to St. Pius and Bowie.  Later, for those of you who were here in the 4th and 6th grade years—I was in Religion Class with you, enjoying your company, and we studied together the things of God.  You were great classes to teach.  Thank you. Then, next, you have gone on to your high achievement, today, adding on a few students, and now being this graduating class of the 8th grade.  Bravo!

“Happy Graduation Day.”  In this same week, in the Church, it is ironically the time in-between the great Ascension of Christ Jesus and the Descent, or sending, of the Holy Spirit from Heaven, to officially start the Church, with people having new life given into their souls at Pentecost.  I see some connections of Graduation to Ascension and Pentecost.

[Slide of the Holy Spirit Window.]

From the Ascension up to Pentecost, people were praying back then in the first Gospel days, for some new big thing to come upon them, as a Gift from Jesus, Who ascended to the Throne of God for us.  That big thing did happen when the Spirit of God was poured out upon them at Pentecost.  Christianity officially began, and people went into a new higher phase of believing and living in Jesus.

In that connection to your graduation, look at the Ascension Mystery as like the commencement exercise for the Church.  As the Church entered into her new realm, her new day, in Christ’ Victory, it was like a graduation into a new maturity and experience.

In this Mass of graduation, you receive diplomas, in recognition and reward for your work done here, as to empower you to head on into something bigger and new ahead.  You go on into a higher phase of living and learning from here, all in the available inspiration of God.

When Christ went to the Throne for us, at the Ascension, He elevated believers to a new place in relationship to God, now as reconciled friends of God, or new sons and daughters risen up in faith.   Jesus also gave out a promise that He and His Spirit would help us to eventually ‘graduate’ all the way to take our own place in Glory with Him.  Eternal life.  THAT is THE GRADUATION of graduations that which God says it is all very possible to those who LIVE by Faith in Him.  That’s an exciting plan to be living in: to have “an inheritance in the saints of light.”  Whatever you do ahead, brothers and sisters, keep your eyes on the prize of that ultimate graduation.  Live to please the Lord in whatever you do, and wherever you are.  And success will find your heart and soul.

[Slide up—The Ascension …like a graduation … a mountainside farewell]

Remember what the prophet Jeremiah advised in the Sprit:  “Do not fall into fear and timidity, but live on with a future and a hope in which God gives you.”  Jer.29:11.

God says He’s our power and hope.

So the Ascension of Jesus with His apostles and disciples was like a graduation, in that, it was the finish of the earthly ministry time of Jesus to His disciples. He was saying—as we heard in tonight’s gospel—but paraphrased here:  ‘Ok, disciples. I will ascend now to Heaven, and you are finished in this time of ministry from me. You have learned much from Me, and now I sent you forth. Go to the next phase of your life in Me.  You are ready.’  That sounds a bit like a graduation speech to me.   And as you heard in tonight’s gospel, He said, ‘Go, spread the good news, baptize, teach, live in Me!’  That’s Jesus’ Great Commission.  Graduations also have commissions or charges, like Jesus’ one on the Mount.  God would have a message to you, tonight, in your graduation, like: “You have learned much, go forth now, to greater things.  I believe in you!”

Graduation is also a bit of a mountain top moment.  So it was at the Ascension on the Mount with Jesus.  Yet you also look back upon how you have come so far and up to this point, and it is a good feeling, isn’t it?  And we the faculty and teachers say:  “Well done with what you’ve done here.  Congratulations.  You did it!”

[Slide up---Ascension Stained Glass window.]

And, with that, there is emotion and tears or feelings in you.  It’s just like Jesus had at His Ascension, and how the people had it in the crowd around Him.  It was a moving farewell, but it also was a great new beginning. Like in this graduation:  there are tears, joy, many feelings, and it’s a high moment: A finish, and a new start.

At the Ascension, Jesus’ Victory was a shared one.  As He won, so did the people.   Know, my brothers and sisters, that as you succeed here tonight, your victory of graduation is something we all feel a share in.   We are glad for you at your achievement thus far.  IMAG0502_1

[Slide up---A New Beginning, A New Phase]

A connection I was trying to make here was in comparing the Ascension Mystery to a Graduation.  Both lead to a new beginning, and onto a new phase.  ‘Get it?  Like the disciples, your graduation towards something new ahead may have a few of you also feeling a little nervous of what challenges lay head.  Yet Jesus says to you and all, like He did on the Mount of the Ascension:  ‘I will send you the power you need. I will give you the Holy Spirit. He will guide you to all things. He will help you.”

Just keep Faith.   You know what FAITH might stand for tonight?   “Forging Ahead, I’ll Trust Him (the Lord)!”  Amen?! F A I T H.

[Slide up--- Deus Lux Mea Est.]

Taking this homily to the final stretch, I have a little Latin phrase for you to use as a reminder of the Spirit’s coming for you in your life ahead.   It is “Deus lux mea est.”  Translated to English, it is “God’s Light mine is.” Or, put in better order:  “God is my light.”

Put personally as a prayer, it can be:  “God, help me believe and see how Your light is on my path ahead.” “Deus lux mea est.”  You have a light to follow, young men and women, as you live soul-fully in your humanity, as we taught you here in this Catholic school. Just know the Glory of God’s light is there to lead His people through, in every new step of the way.”  Deus lux mea est.  God’s Light Mine is.   And that Light of God will lead you to Heaven, too.

Getting into life with God in glory is THE final goal and destination of life; THAT is our ultimate “graduation” hope.

[Slide up---“Pax Et Bonum”]

Lastly, I have one more Latin phrase for you tonight.   It is “Pax et Bonum!”  It translates as Pax/Peace Et/and  with plus Bonum/Goodness.   Pax et Bonum!     Peace and Goodness to you all, this graduation night… +            +

[Last slide up---Blue Ribbon Hat pic of me]

From a fellow Blue Ribbon Hard Hatter, and with these other priestly fathers, and from myself, this former student of the school.  Join me in being an alumnus now.

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6th Sunday of Easter Homily– A Grace Motto

Homily    May 21st

“Life is a struggle; don’t be without Grace.”

This is the phrase that the liturgy committee of our parish thought up, inspired by Deacon Barnes, as a motto for this Year of Grace.  We also made up a Grace holy card with the motto phrase on it, for your take-away today.  The ushers will pass collection baskets out with the cards for the distribution, which will be maybe the first time and last time you will be able to take out something from the collection basket, rather than only put in.  BTW, the regular collection will still be taken up later!   (So, ushers, you may pass out the baskets with the holy cards…)

Today we heard in the Gospel of John chapter 14 of Jesus’ reassurance to us that, even as He goes to reign in Heaven, He will also live on in us, in our souls.   Not only Him, but via Him, we will be given the Holy Spirit, AND relationship with the Heavenly Father.  This whole restored relationship in The Holy Trinity is a gift of great favor.   This is the story of Grace.   God is good to us, and He knows our struggles, so He comes to help us.

Today in John 14′s text, Jesus says that He is our Advocate, and He will not to leave us as orphans, PLUS, Another Advocate will come to us, the Holy Spirit.  That is a lot of gracious help to us, only if we would be open to it, humble ourselves before God, admit our need, and then respond to how God wants to answer and supply Grace for our need.

Life is a struggle; don’t be without Grace.   Yet much of the believer’s struggles in life IS related to our selfish pride or independence, when we try to handle things only in the flesh, without living in the Spirit, and by Jesus.

Do you understand the difference—of being merely walking in the flesh as opposed to walking in the Spirit of the Lord?   I usually get yellow or red signals when I am short-changing myself, as in relying mostly or fully on the flesh and my own supply.   God reminds me to choose His Spirit in life’s challenges, in that I am His child now, His earthen vessel holding a treasure of eternity in me, a temple of His Spirit, and a person He now inhabits to bless my heart, mind, body and soul.   God even agitates me, in a little holy and good jealousy, when He observes when I won’t live according to Him, abiding in His commandments and ways.   He bids me back into His love, speaking to my heart of how much He wants my love.

When I try to go about things in the flesh, I am compared much to a vehicle running on sub-standard oil or a weak battery, that begins to have the vehicle to cough and stutter.  He says “note the difference, John.  You are called to live in My Grace.”   As in: the high-grade oil of His Spirit, and Grace and goodness of Jesus in me.

Yes. There are things we people try to do all so much on our own limited strength and resources.   Facing life with its challenges, we take it on, much too alone at times, and with so much to bear. Yet Jesus says to us:  You are family to Me now. You are not orphans.   Use my help.

Sometimes the weight of challenging things of life crushes people, or at least discourages them and/or keeps them from actualizing a contented life.   I have seen it, for example, in the losses people suffer.  I have seen them bear their burden only privately, not opening up in asking for help or support.   It makes for them a distance and loneliness suffered, as like an orphan.   The suffering is not just experienced by that one person, but it can spread out to those around them—who are kept out.  Love misses a chance.   Yet the Spirit of God looks to create community and a shared love in the body of faith.   This is Grace again.

In our sinful side in the flesh we might blurt within: “I can handle it all myself,” and yes, one can try to do that—but why?   (Of course, there are some things we need to handle privately, even spiritually, but I am speaking generally here, of how we short-change ourselves too often of grace by our self-flesh reliance, and not affording Grace and Christian community, of which the Holy Spirit is ready to offer His gifts.)

Today’s message:  “Life is a struggle, don’t be without Grace.”  Take this little card to remind you to let God’s favor in—and note that often it is coming through somebody the Spirit is sending our way.

In the parish, there are many stories of people who have demonstrated this openness to grace and the Holy Spirit.   I see people in the congregation who have exercised this type of faith and have seen the fruit of it, or at least made it through some challenge with the help and strength of God’s grace.   I won’t share one of them, due to not asking permission in time for this homily, so instead I will tell you, briefly, of one of mine.   I was in the seminary finishing up 2nd Theology, with two years to go to ordination.  Yet I had difficulties going on.  It wasn’t with my spiritual life, academic life, nor my confidence in the calling—but it was facing the facts of having little money left to my name after paying off my collegiate expenses at Maryland and living off what I had left.  I went straight into seminary after college graduation, sensing an urgency to join in, as did another Bowie friend, Barry Knestout.  We mutually felt we needed to respond ASAP to the call to seminary.   So, I trusted God for the finances to handle seminary.

Yet by the end of second theology, I was trying to figure out how to not go broke while in the seminary, as it was not a place one could earn funds.   Another seminarian I knew solved his similar problem by getting a secret job with Tourmobile Washington on the weekends—that really wasn’t proper—even if it got him by.  For me, I was likewise tempted to solve my money problem relying on just my own resources.  I seriously pondered my dropping out of seminary for a full year so I earn enough finances back in my bank account healthy again and to buy a car.  That was practical, fix it yourself approach, in my struggle, but it was not allowing much for Grace to work.

Remember our slogan:  Life is a struggle; don’t be without Grace.

Rather than go with this take-care-of-it myself approach, I called out to God to remind Him how He had promised me assistance to get through seminary, so I said:  ‘Ok God, where is this help You promised?  I can’t afford the financial side of it, with all the side expenses of seminary school!”   He answered:  “Ask for it.  Go look, seek, and ask for it. But just don’t just rely on your own way.”

In response to God’s leading, it led me to dare ask the Archbishop to change some of his seminarian policies, which I was surprised that he did, and I worked a six days a week job for the summer, as well as for a parish where I lived for the Summer.   Another surprise was that I told of my extra need to Knights of Columbus, particularly my uncle, who was my godfather-Confirmation sponsor, and he raised funds for me. Then another surprise came, in that a poor Catholic lady in D.C. of whom I often visited, won some money in a car accident lawsuit, and she spent it on buying herself a new car, and giving me a used one.  This development in 1986, in my trusting in God’s grace, helped me to continue on without interruption to my 1987 Diaconate ordination and my 1988 ordination, which was on this day of May 21st.   Grace got me to my ordination.    It was a lesson in humility, and so much since then, in priestly work, I have had to rely on Grace, such as in the generosity of people in parishes, like you in this one, so to meet the parish need, and, by it, to pay my small salary—“for the disciple laborer is worth of his keep (in God’s field of service)” as Jesus said in Luke 10:7, when He trained His apostles to rely on people of faith to care for them.   It’s my own priestly anniversary example of having to live out this Grace slogan:   Life is a struggle; don’t be without grace.

Homily. May 13/14. Celebrating Fatima’s Centennial.

Pic of my own 2003 Fatima pilgrimage. IMAG1256

On May 13, 1917, Mary, the Mother of Jesus our Lord, appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.  She had admonitions for the world to be in prayer with God so to gain strength to fight versus oncoming difficulties in the world.  Those difficulties came to be known as World Wars 1 and 2, along with the threat of Communist expansion in the world.  The children received a message that God was sad for all our sins.  The seer named Francisco said:  “More than anything else, I want to console Our Lord.” So he lived a life of child piety.  The seer named Jacinta said: “I want to suffer very much for love of Jesus.”  This little girl knew that loving Jesus does have a cost, and it’s the heart’s cost of a surrender to God’s love, keeping away from a fallen world’s enticements to sin.

During the world wars and the communist pushes into nations, millions of lives were lost in those times.  Faith was suppressed when the invader force came in.   The Fatima message called for faith and hope from Catholics and believers world-wide to bear God’s light to vanquish the darkness.

The Portugese people mostly heeded Mary’s message and thus they had less harm come upon them from the wars (at least than others did), but the message wasn’t just for their present time, or to them, but for the future and to many others.  The Fatima call has spread around the world, in fact, and for a century.

The 3 visionaries were all shepherd children.  Their names were Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta.   The latter two died as youth, as even foretold by Mary, but on this weekend Pope Francis comes to their Fatima village to canonize them, as Saints Francisco and Jacinta.   Lucia lived through most of the 20th century, even into Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, the one she says she saw in a vision. She had seen a suffering pope, and it JPII indeed who was the victim of an assassination attempt, but he survived, and JPII came back to Fatima to thank the Blessed Virgin personally and did so quite dramatically too. All near the end of Lucia’s life.

The Fatima visionaries trio saw angels, Our Lady, Heavenly sights, and hell too.   They came to realize, even in all their innocence, of the profound nature of the spiritual life that takes place everyday.   They realized their need to be with God and to become holy. They saw the great need of all the world to come to Jesus.  And they saw that Mary was there to help that come about.   That’s always her role.   To lead people to her son, The Son of God.

Our Lady of Fatima’s message was to pray for conversion of the world to God, and to offer prayerful reparations for the sins of humankind, the sins so heaped up in offense in the 20th century.   A prayer for sinners in most need of God’s mercy was added to end all of the decades of the rosary prayer, in request by Our Lady in her Portugal apparitions, and she added a call for new 1st Saturday devotions, as in 5 of them done annually, in prayerful union with her Immaculate Heart.  This call by Mary has been taken fairly seriously in places and by people.   Thousands of people did witness a so-described spinning of the sun as a Fatima sign of God’s part in sending Mary to help the world.  That sign still appears to people in some effect.  The best sign, though, is that lasting one of a hundred years of the most faithful flock in Europe, that being the Portuguese, who remain more steadfast to the Church than all of their neighbor nations.

PFFatimaPope Francis has come to Fatima yesterday and pointed to Mary as a person in grace and a model to us.   He quipped:  “Which Mary do you know?  The plaster statue or the woman full of grace, so blessed because she believed?”    Francis tells us that when we believe, we give God more ground for His favor to work in us.   He says that we need to be open to a merciful God Who still wants to work in our lives, so as to perfect us.  Yes, we need work done in our souls.   Jesus, the Gardener, once seen by Mary Magdalene on that first Easter Sunday, has tilling to do in us.  I have suggested to you more than a few times that it is to serve in evangelism efforts, outreach to the communities around us, and proclaim a Jesus of Faith, Who welcomes people home.   This shall be the home for many, if we but reach out to them.   The June 3rd Life in Christ seminar that we are having that Saturday from morning to evening is our gathering place for renewal.  We come to learn how we can let our own hearts beat with love for others, and then later in the year, invite other people to a day retreat, those whom we see or know around us that look to need Christ.

In my decade among you, we have reached out a bit, to add new members– but not to the point of replenishing the 900 households we once had.  We are under 700 now, and our religious ed. and Catholic school student numbers are lower than before.   Our new neighbors need to meet the Christ we proclaim and serve.   Our Lady of Fatima tells us that she is a patron of conversion.   Get to know her story if you need to.   I put introductory videos on our website to that end.   Mary wants to help us.

When our statue fell and was beyond repair in the backyard devotional area on the hill, I wondered which type of Mary statue could go up there this time.   Our Lady of Fatima, with the three children who became saints, gathered at her feet– that is what I ordered.  We’ll dedicate it on a weekend ahead.  Fatima

The Scriptures today in Acts 6 say that “a man named Stephen was filled with grace in the Holy Spirit,” and along with six other named men– came forward to serve under the apostles to help advance the mission of the Church– the Way of The Lord Jesus.  It says how the apostles prayed and laid hands on them.  (And that) the word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples (there) in Jerusalem increased greatly.”   We could adjust that message to Bowie, that via persons in grace and the Holy Spirit and the apostolic church, did help the Word of God to continue to spread, and that the numbers in the fold increased greatly.   Are you looking to serve that mission in some way?  Come on June 3rd.  Give an rsvp to the office that you’re coming.

What can we expect from God?  That He will use us for His calling the sheep home. That He will appreciate our cooperation, for the Psalm today says how “the eyes of the LORD are upon those who revere and respect Him, upon those who hope for His kindness.”   I propose that His kindness is to help St. Edward parish to renewal and more numbers.   It’s in your trust in His kindness, your priority.

Hear the invitation on this Lady of Fatima day, via the epistle proclamation which Peter makes:  “Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house!”  Does that not sound like a call to renewal and strength as a spiritual house of St. Edward for the Lord?

Last weekend, the presenter for Live Christ Share Christ appealed for people to not to be afraid to be in a renewal with God, and that this Catholic program, based first on an all-day seminar experience, is meant to show people how to stoke faith renewal, just in case one wants to help the parish grow, and its people within.  We take a question that Philip once said to the Risen Jesus in front of him, in questioning if the apostles really knew the way to do things, as Jesus was calling to them:  Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?”   Jesus was gently reminding Philip that God was among them, not just up there with the Father in the Heavens, Jesus said:  I Am the Way, on this journey with you, brethren!”

Yes, indeed He is.  We need to believe it.

Photo:  I co-led a Fatima Pilgrimage in 2003.  Group picture in the Fatima square.

 

The Rising Up Life. Homily 5-7

How do we live a Rising Up life?  By the buoyancy of the Easter Lord Jesus.  We engage Him daily into our lives.  We do it by prayer, spiritual reading, service to the Gospel, and by loving in a God- breathed way in activities and relationships.  That’s for starters.    It’s the success formula and story of many a saint, such as the single Canadian woman Blessed Marie Leonie Paradis, whose feast is May 3rd. She came from a poor but religious family. Her pursuit of holiness as a Catholic inspired her to become a learned woman of the Faith, going on to teach in places in Canada as in New Brunswick and Montreal, and in the USA in New York and Indiana.  She founded an Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.  Many others took up an imitation of her zeal for God and love of people.IMAG0460_1

What Marie-Leonie found was of how to let the Risen Lord into her being, so that He might be her inspiration.  She learned to live in tandem with Him.

Indeed.  The Risen Lord seeks avenue to live in His people.  This is the new life.  The prophecy was that God would put in us a new heart and spirit– Yes, His very Self in us.    I in you and you in me, as John’s Gospel tells of Jesus of this rising up life.

How do we say YES to the LORD today to the new life?

We hear about a changed Peter in the Acts 2 reading today for the opening Sunday Scripture.  He now lived in Jesus and we hear how his convicted teachings were so moving that his hearers “were cut to the heart.” They took Peter’s exhortation rather seriously–about becoming saved from their corrupt generation–and it says 3000 people expressed their repentance in baptism in that afternoon described.

A changed new life in the Risen Lord Jesus has the holy power to touch others and make a real difference– whether in St. Peter, Blessed Marie Leonie or in you and I.

So how do we say YES today to being joined in the Easter Lord Jesus, and Rise Up more in the New Life?

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2nd Sunday of Easter Homily

If you heard today’s reading from Acts with recognition, then congratulations, because you realize that it was our Advent theme of the 5 Loaves ( or 5 key ways) to be the Church.  It’s valuable 5 lessons are in the Advent’s blogs (at our parish web site) for your looking back…

Let the Color of your New Life in Jesus be seen before others.

sPeacock–a symbo1l of New Life in the Risen Lord.

On Good Friday I had a seafood lunch out at a restaurant with family members.   It followed a parish morning prayer service, a server rehearsal, and then a Way of the Cross at a Catholic cemetery, with a visit to dad’s grave.  4-16-2004.    It was fitted in to some free time before Evening Liturgy.

At the restaurant, I felt a little out of it.   In this place, the majority of people there looked rather oblivious of it being the day of the Lord Jesus’ death.   People were drinking alcohol and eating meat and carrying on around us, while we ate our fish meal.   While I had a good lunch gathering with my family, the scene around us had me see just how very secular our society is right now.  The stores that day were probably all busy, and while many people had to go to do their jobs or schools, some had it off–but not in acknowledgement of religion.  Those persons who had the day off were likely doing things like golfing, shopping, and maybe the kids were on the video/computer games all day—- and that was all sad to me, as society treats The Day Jesus Died as just any regular Friday.  With little notice.   Even the Washington Nationals had a game, with a bobble-head doll giveaway.  Real sad.

Good Friday is meant to be a day of mourning.   I suppose many were not intending to mourn–not at that restaurant, anyway.   Meaning—it just did not seem how Jesus was relevant to them, nor His death being important to them, nor the realization of His life-saving death happened on this day in history to save sinners.  Didn’t these people feel at all like sinners nor needing any saving?   Well, anyway, I was at the place, too–for awhile.  Maybe someone saw me there, and wondered:  Why is he here?

A Catholic saint once said:  If a person doesn’t appreciate Good Friday, then they can’t really comprehend or celebrate Easter Sunday.   I am concerned that there are an increasing number of people not acknowledging they are sinners in need of God, so what could Easter mean to us.

Now the Lord doesn’t want to win people over using guilt trips or finger-pointing, so my point isn’t of accusing judgment here, but just about the Lord’s perspective over us all.   The Divine Mercy in the Blessed Son saw all the human need and our misery, and came to save us.  Jesus defined His coming, saying:  “I have come to seek and save the lost.”  And, that, is who we all are. The lost folk.  Quite lost.  In a world with so much offered by God to us, even for redemption, but we wander and stray, into indifference or even defiance to Him.   God looked at all of the world and her history of our pride leading us far off-course from His original plan for us, and so from the Cross Jesus, God’s Son, bore our sins, saying:  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”   Maybe in modern lingo, ‘These people are so messed up!  They really need this Divine Mercy, Father.  Forgive them, for they have it all so wrong that they even condemned me to a Cross.   They mock Me, but Salvation will come by here.’

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, can we ponder just how royally messed up we are as a world?   Yet, can we be baffled in joy, that God is come to save us anyway?!

Now, Divine Mercy Sunday is a bit different from the Good Friday perspective.   We have a Risen Lord coming to the apostles, and showing His triumph, while also bearing the marks of His crucifixion.   He will always be the Lamb of God for us.  He is a Lord of Triumph, too.  That is what Thomas sees, a Lord who died and rose, and he exclaims:  “My Lord and my God!”

He sees the two expressions of Jesus, His Sacrifice and Resurrection, joined into one.  So Thomas sees the connection of the Cross and Rising of Jesus as one thing.

Jesus lived out this connection.  As Jesus was up on the Cross, we know He prayed some Psalms in those three hours, ones that connection His dying and rising.  He prays the abandonment prayer of Psalm 22 “why have You abandoned Me to death?” along with Psalm 23, for sure, “though I walk the dark valley, I fear no evil… a table is prepared for Me even in the presence of my enemies… my cup (of victory) is overflowing, surely goodness and mercy shall follow in…to the House of the Lord forever.”   Jesus was praying those such Psalms, along with this one we prayed today, Psalm 118; it was on His mind and heart that fateful Day, as He pondered what lay ahead:  There is Resurrection after the rejection.  Psalm 118: verse 22: “The stone which the builders rejected is become the cornerstone.”  Hear Jesus praying: ‘I will start a work, Father, of saving people into a Living Temple, of My own body.  I am the Cornerstone for a whole new world.  The Building Block.  I was rejected, but I AM what can build up a new people.’

Psalm 118: verse 23:   “By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful to see…”  Jesus could see the New Day dawning, upon His Sacrifice being accepted by the Father.  Hear Jesus praying:  ‘WE have done it.  It is a wondrous gift of love, to bring back this fallen people, this lost creation, and give it a free way back to the Divine Friendship.  By God, US, it is done– for people now to believe and accept and live out.  This work of salvation is a wonderful thing for them, and I shall now arise!’

Psalm 118: verse 24   “This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.”   Easter really is the day God has given to us, and actually it is the first day of endless love and possibilities to be born from the fruits of Jesus’ Resurrection.   Easter is a Day, THE DAY to rejoice and be glad in it.   Easter, too, is a Season of the Church.  Easter, as well, is a whole new way of life.   Jesus may live in us now.   Easter is also the promise of Heaven and eternal life, given as a gift in the Redeemer Christ Jesus.

These verses bring a real happiness to our liturgy, for if you have walked with Jesus in sorrow through Lent and Holy Week, you are best ready for the Bright Side of the Story.

For God has a victory to bring for those who come and are humbled by the Cross of Christ.

Jesus sees His rejoicing faithful, and He hopes He may use their witness to bring the Good News out to touch others.   Like here in Bowie.   For the many people who are not surrendered to Christ in their hearts are just filling time, keeping occupied, looking to put off that emptiness of soul inside— Jesus wants to deal out purpose and meaning and love and fulfillment to them.   Jesus is given to be the New Life for these needy souls. You and I are meant to be examples of that, to reach the gloomy and the distracted and the disguised.  Life’s purpose is to live for God.  That’s what Catholic Christians should be ‘advertising’ in our lifestyles, and that Easter and Jesus Alive IS a reality.   And yes—-Grace provides a way out of sin and death and darkness.  We herald how Grace is making breakthroughs to people such as us.   It was in seeing our brokenness and need, and a Jesus to fill it– that brought the enlightenment.  His Cross has met our brokenness and His Resurrection has us truly set free.

“If the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed!”  So says Jesus.   He is Risen and we are free!

I am so glad to be in that realization and revelation, even if I do ask myself:  Who am I to receive this wondrous grace?  But The Lord has a marvelous love to share out.

It is the burden of pastors in churches to worry about the state of people’s souls.  To reach the lost person and help them to be found in Jesus, and then for them to grow in the Lord Jesus.   It is also supposed to be the concern of every baptized person to be interested in helping souls come to know Jesus, and for the body of believers to keep growing deeper, then, in their faith.  Hear our epistle speak to that today.  “May that the genuineness of your faith, so precious to you…even willing to be tested, prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”   Yes, St. Peter’s letter says that we hope for a genuine experience of Jesus in us, the whole Jesus, in His Paschal Mystery, that others may see their hope is in Jesus, too.  The message continues from Peter,  “Rejoice right along (until into that)…glorious joy, as (when) you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your soul.”   thM30CLBDM
Jesus is that “fisher of men,” so leading the Church at her start.

So, in a suggested follow-through of this Easter message, we present in the bulletin our second appeal to a parish renewal program getting started, with the need for a few to step up and help it get going.  Read the leaflet today and/or visit the parish website under Faith Formation today.    It’s about a training retreat program to learn how to put on a evangelistic outreach to the community of non-believers, tepid believers, and need-to-be-more engaged believers of helping the Good News of Jesus to spread out to others. IMAG0554

A resurrection style Lord of Sacrifice, as seen depicted in the Gate of Heaven cemetery chapel, Silver Spring.

Go out and tell the Good News, He is saying.  Let the colors of New-born Life in Jesus be seen by all.  s

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday III and April 19 Emmaus homily message at St. Edward

admin-ajaxzzHappy Easter time!

The Four Gospels preach that the Lord Jesus Crucified is He Who is Alive from the dead.  Jesus is Risen!  In the Wednesday Octave Mass of Easter, as in the 3rd Sunday of Easter, the Gospel of the day gives us the Emmaus journey account of a man (Cleophas) and friend walking downcast from out of Jerusalem.  The evangelist’s account of this walk describes how a fellow traveler on the road joins along with them and raises some conversation with them,  Cleophas says of how he had thought before that the prophet Jesus was their hope, but that He and the dream died in Jerusalem on Friday.  He asks the Jewish stranger:  ‘How is it that you are not downcast, too?  Are you ignorant of who Jesus was, and how His death crushed people’s hopes?’ 

As Cleophas and companion travel on, the stranger who has joined them shares a different take on the ministry of Christ and its hope born through the suffering.  This brilliant man of faith tells them how Jesus was, is, rather, an amazing fulfillment of all the Messianic hopes, meeting all prophecies for a Hebrew to come and be a savior to people Israel and to the world.   Cleophas and the other man had probably looked incredulous at the stranger at first, but now after an hour or two’s walk, they are moved by the man’s words, and they invite Him, rather, plead with Him, to stay with them, and really enlighten them, over a meal and a complimentary stay there in Emmaus.

Then they the tell the stranger with them that Jesus had been the One upon whom they had trusted all their hopes to– and He suggests to them that they break bread together and pray.   They do so, and all of a sudden, the two men now recognize the stranger who has travelled with them.   It is the newly Risen Jesus.   “They recognized Him in the breaking of the bread.”  This is the summation of the whole story.   Then, poof, Jesus goes.  They react by going to gather with Jesus’ core faith community, the apostles and Mary, and to share the Good News.   They run back to Jerusalem and the Upper Room.  When the arrive, they hear joyfully that the Lord Jesus had appeared to Simon Peter too.   A community of Jesus Alive is forming now.

These two actions–the journeying with a listening ear and heart—AND the welcome spirit and breaking bread action–are what we do at every Mass.   We do the Emmaus story every Sunday!   (And even in daily Masses, really.)  We do the Emmaus story in holding a Liturgy of the Word and a Liturgy of the Eucharist.   Part A is the journey to Emmaus–the Liturgy of the Word.   Part B is the gathering at table with the Lord, recognizing Him as our Eucharist in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Have you considered this comparison with this Gospel before?  It’s all clearly there.  What we do as Catholics in Holy Mass has its model right here in a story from the first Easter day, on the road to Emmaus and in Emmaus.

We listen to the Word of God, taking a Sunday walk with it, and then we break bread with God on High in Christ. The difference is that with us, compared to the gospel persons in today’s account, we know Jesus is alive–or at least we have been told that Jesus rose from the dead.   They didn’t.

Yet sometimes, even knowing about the Resurrection, we still might not respond to this joyous Mystery of God, even upon hearing God’s Word, but like the first Emmaus walk and the two disciples, God will plant His Living Word in us, letting our hearts burn with it, touch us, and have us desire it all the more.

Did you know that the town name of Emmaus actually is translated to mean:  Yearning desired place.   What is your yearning and desired place?  Is it the Glory of God?  Then you have the burning in you.   It calls forth for a response and welcome and it leads to a greater recognition (or even first AHA recognition of Jesus Alive). Will we let the Word lead you to the Wedding Supper union?   It is designed to bring you to sup with God, at His table.

We the Church in Holy Mass call Jesus our Redeemer and we pray that the Spirit help us to be moved by Jesus, in Word and Sacrament.   The Spirit is given to us to magnify Jesus in our being.   Will it create light in the burning desire in our hearts for His Word?   Will we then flashed recognition of Our Lord in the breaking of the Bread?

These are deep questions for a people on the move, journeying with the Man from Galilee and heading to the place called Yearning Desire.

Can we be like Cleophas and the other person, all so touched by the Encounter with Jesus, so to become glad and to go seek others in the fold to share it with?  That is what our Parish Renewal program hopes to see happen, once people catch this fire.

Cleophas and that other person teach us to be glad like them– Jesus IS Alive and HE is the One to trust!

The children in Religious Ed were with me on Tuesday and Wednesday here in church and I told them that the lamb figure on the middle window in the east section was not just any ordinary lamb walking by.  The flag he was carrying was an Easter flag of victory, because, as I explained to them: He is Jesus, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, and happy are all called to His supper.

They caught on with recognition that Jesus is the Blessed Son of the Trinity, He is the babe of Christmas, He is the person that all the Good News describes being the best person ever to live on earth, and He is the Lamb of God, seen in the Heavens, too.   He is all of that.   They caught on to seeing that window anew.   And we adults need to catch on to seeing Jesus anew all the time.    He is (as our epistle describes) that “unblemished Lamb of Sacrifice” Who is Savior and Mercy to us, to Whom we are all indebted to.   Praise His Holy Name.0717132025

Easter Homily II: Easter and Mary Magdalene

IMAG1096_1Mary Magdalene came to The Tomb and found the soldiers on guard as dead men, with the Angel of The Lord sitting atop the grave boulder, which He had moved, saying The Crucified Lord is not here. As He is Risen, behold, see an empty tomb.

HOMILY        (Lengthened Blog version)

On this Easter Morn, we hear the Matthew 28 account of Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleopas at the tomb of Our Lord, and then of the encounter of the Risen Jesus.  Last night at the Easter Vigil I preached on one of these women and of her inspiration to us.  It was of “the other Mary,” Mary of Cleophas.   Today I preach on Mary Magdalene and of her inspiration to us.   Both women were present for the whole Paschal Mystery:  They were there for the suffering Lord Jesus , and below Him as He died on the Cross, as well as coming to Jesus’ tomb to pray, therefore, putting themselves in place as the early witnesses of Jesus’ Resurrection.

At the Cross, Mary Magdalene was a silent witness.  No words are recorded of her, only long sobs– as we hear Jesus address her later, “woman, why are you weeping?”   Jesus saw her weeping below His Cross of Sacrifice.   It moved Him to see His friend there for Him to the end.   So, He would meet her here on the First Easter’s dawn, as her great consolation and new hope.

Mary Magdalene knew Jesus as God’s Love revealed to the world.  She had been amazed with HIm, even since her deliverance from her darkness.   As she saw Jesus on the Cross, she might have commented to the soldiers:   “He won’t really need the nails, for His Love could hold Him up there.   He dies in the fullest Gift of Love ever.”

Mary Magdalen was one of the “three Mary’s” at the Cross.   The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary of Cleophas, and her made for the faithful trio.   Mary Magdalene was different from the other two, in that she was not related to the Savior by family ties.   The Blessed Mother was Jesus’ true mother, and Mary of Cleophas was Mary’s sister-in-law.   Our Mary was a Galilean woman from Magdala, a city more known to be influenced by Gentile than Jewish life.   Yet Mary of Magdala would meet Jesus and become one of His closest disciples.   As for new family ties, Jesus had said one time that “those who hear the Word of God and keep to it are mother, brother, sister–or family– to me now.”  Mary Magdalene certainly fit that description of Jesus’ new extended family by faith.  We have learned it, too, today, that if we accept Jesus the Word and keep with Him– in Scripture, in love and service, in Sacrament, as members of His body, the Church– then we are called Jesus’ brothers and sisters.   My opening address to you was as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus– just to acknowledge that family tie we have!

In Luke 8, we hear how Mary met Jesus while she was under the possession of darkness.   Jesus heals her out of seven demons.  What those sins or evil spirits were–we don’t exactly know.  Yet she had a full recovery.   7 is a number that denotes fullness.  You know it as such, such as of the 7-fold Gift of the Spirit or 7 days of creation or 7 Sacraments.   Mary of Magdala will be a changed, whole woman now.  Because Jesus will later call her “woman” as in Matthew 28, it tells us that she is a woman of the new creation in Christ.   He came to bring us back into Grace, like humankind had in the Garden of Eden.  In fact, as John’s Gospel describes Jesus meeting Mary Magdalene in that first public, official Resurrection account— it is in a Garden, on purpose.  Jesus is first the mistaken Gardener, in John 20, until Mary cries “Rabboni” in recognition of her Lord standing there.  She knew Jesus when He called her name.   It is the same for us awaiting after death; Jesus will call us by Name and welcome us into Paradise with Him.

On Mary Magdalene’s feast day, July 22, the Church gives the Song of Songs as the first reading, denoting our Mary as the one seeking the Lord as like the dove figure in that Biblical book about God and humankind drawing nearer to our full reunion.  This figure in the Song of Songs so desires to be one with her Lover.thhhh

I’d like to suggest here how Mary Magdalene is our saintly model of desire to be close with the Lord God of love.   We need to want Him so dearly, too.   What made this disciple so want to be near Jesus, that even after death she arises as dawn’s early light to go to Jesus’ tomb, even bringing spices, if perhaps the guards would let her in to pay her respects?   Let us pray for desire for Jesus!   There is a title of The Lord’s Anointed that befits this suggestion:  He is the “Desire of Nations.”   (From Haggai chapter 2.)

Mary Magdalene has the soul need for God.   Jesus is God–so she needs to be near Him.

Jesus accepts her close to Himself.  As we have learned from His episode in Bethany, in letting two women sit at His feet and be taught as disciples– Mary of Magdala would have had that opportunity from her Luke 8 meeting with Him and on.

Sometimes Mary Magdalene is given a mistaken identity or even a disparaging one– as Jesus’ intimate lover on earth, as in girlfriend or wife.  Shame on those who say such things, as they reveal in that ignorance or pride that they don’t know what kind of intimacy Jesus offers His followers.   John the apostle and Lazarus of Bethany were so close to Jesus, they get identified, too, as “the one Jesus loved.”  Mary of Magdala was a pure and close relationship to Jesus, showing what the kingdom of God offers anew.

By the way, Mary of Magdala meets Jesus in Luke 8, so the harlot woman who meets Jesus in Luke 7 is a different person.    Yet the same thing applies– Jesus would have women followers, and some were of those whom He had healed and converted– and they now were disciples, like the others, and with the apostles.

Mary Magdalene is a chosen example for Christians to follow, probably thanks to how John the Apostle appreciated her.   Under the Cross, John was there with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and he did take notice how Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” was there, too.   When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary find that Jesus is Risen, it is to John, and Peter, that the news is delivered.    With Mary Magdalene, she is the symbol of humanity renewed by the grace of God, and bathed into the Paschal Mystery, for a new start to the world for the people of God.  We live in the world now with Jesus.  Jesus is the Gardener of our garden of soul and body, working us to redemption to Glory.

The Tree of Calvary becomes the Tree of Life’s new start, and the Garden of our seeking in faith and hope is where we find the Risen Lord, by faith, more than sight.  Yet He will present Himself as Sacrament to our senses.  Still, we are to know Him first by the heart and soul.  Mary calls Jesus by her favorite name for Him:  Rabboni.   She teaches us that we need to know our Savior so well, that perhaps we even have a special Name for Him.  Why?  Because we are in a personal relationship with Jesus.

It is Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Cleophas (whom I preached about on the Easter Vigil and copied to the parish pastor’s blog), along with Salome who seeking Jesus on that first Easter morn.   In imitation, you and I have come this Easter morn seeking Jesus.   Mary Magdalene and her firsts see Jesus and go prostate to kneel and worship Jesus.  It is what we come here to do on Easter 2017:  to bow and worship, and to be glad we have a Risen Lord.

What happens to Mary Magdalene later?  We know she is a witness for the Church in the Holy Land for 14 years after Jesus’ Resurrection.   The non-accepting Jews of Israel resist the movement of Jesus and this Way of the Lord (Christianity), and they put Mary Magdalene adrift on a large boat without oars, to ban her from Israel, and on that same vessel is said to be Martha of Bethany, Maximillian, Sinonius (the healed blind man of Jesus’ miracle), the Magdalene’s servant Sera, and the remains of Anne, Jesus’ grandmother.  They end up floating to Gaul, which is now known as France.   Mary Magdalene continues as an evangelist there, and a Basilica attests to that, in southern France, and Mary dies at 72 as a mystic in a cave dwelling, matching what the Song of Songs says as a “dove cooing her voice in the clefts, longing for her Love of Loves.”  The testimony is given, that like Mary Magdalen met the Angel at the tomb, so would she sees angels through her lifetime, even being ministered by them in her final days.”

This homily about Mary Magdalene is meant to reflect back on the One she so honored with her life–the Meaning of Easter.   JESUS is the Risen One.   HE is our Love.   HE is our New Life and Hope.   HE is the One whom we seek for a fullest knowing of Him, and WHO so promises us that such will be given to us, even in an Everlasting Way.

Mary’s seeking so diligently for The Lord, and not giving up, nor letting up after a Risen Jesus visit, tells us the same, as the Scriptures reminds us:  “It is whoever perseveres to the end who will be saved (Matt. 24:13).”   So seek the Lord fully!  The Lord has much to show us, even forever and ever, to our highest happiness!

Mary of Magdala also tells us to gather with others in this faith.  Jesus says to her, as in today’s Gospel, ‘tell the Good News that I Am Alive, then tell the apostles and others to go gather as one back to Galilee, where everything begins again with you.”  Mary tells Peter, and after they find Thomas, all go back to begin anew with Jesus: together.   Peter and the Church have been one since that time, when at Pentecost, the Spirit came to them to be the one, inspired, holy, out-to-the-world Church.   Amen.

we begin anew in Galilee– go tell Peter.

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