Monday, April 21, 2014

Three Questions: Easter Sunday

            Happy Easter to you all!
            I would like to ask you three questions this morning.  These questions have simple answers—either yes or no.  And they are objective, meaning that your answer does not determine whether or not the question is actually true or not.
            The first question: does God exist?
            Second: was Jesus God?
            Third: did Jesus rise from the dead?
            If you answered yes to these questions, you are in the right place.  You belong here!  You are home.  And we are glad you and your family are here today. 
            The Catholic Church has always affirmed these deep crucial questions.  And she does so, not because she invented the answers, but because they are in fact true.  And since they are true, a few results should follow.
If you answered yes to these questions, your life should be different.  You should stand out in our world.  As St. Paul states, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above and not what is from below.
And since God exists, Jesus was God and Jesus did rise from the dead, you can trust holy Mother Church.  You can trust that what the Catholic Church upholds is right—even those teachings which you question or initially disagree with.  After all, it is a cakewalk for Jesus to lead the Church he established from heaven if he passed from death to life as a man.  Jesus’ last promise as a man: “Lo, I am with you, to the close of the age.”  He continues to be with us through his Church and we can trust every Church teaching.
Finally, each of us is searching for happiness.  Every day we make choices that we think will fulfill this desire.  Jesus told us, “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly,” showing that he desires that we experience true happiness—joy.  We can only live with such joy—even when we face tragedy—by living out our faith to the full.  (To the full means not picking and choosing what we like, but submitting to all our Church believes in).
We have a gift for each of you in gratitude for joining us at St. John’s on this glorious Easter Sunday: The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly.  Please pick up a copy after Mass and read it.  I just finished this book and was impressed by its readability, practicality and insight.  Like Jesus, Matthew Kelly meets his audience where they are and encourages them to take daily small steps to grow closer to God.
Here is another fact.  Today we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, an event that took place nearly 2000 years ago.  Fast-forward 2000 years in the future.  The fact is, none of us will be here on earth in 2000 years.  And I would bet that people in the year 4000 probably won’t even know who we were! 
You might be thinking, “Fr. Ben, what a Debbie-downer idea—especially for Easter Sunday!”  Yet this is precisely the point.  If we really believe God exists, Jesus was God and Jesus rose from the dead, 2000 years from now will be infinitely better for us than now.  We have nothing to fear simply because Christ rose from the dead.  We don’t need to fear anxiety, depression, poverty, hunger, sin or death. 
            Praise God!  Jesus Christ is risen—he is truly risen.

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