Sunday 19 April 2015

Third Sunday of Easter-B-Br Simeon

Andre-Rublev's Saviour
  Homily preached by Br. Simeon at Maroubra on Sunday 19th April 2015:  

Gospel:  Luke 24: 36-48

The two disciples told the eleven and their companions what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you . . . These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you -- that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

It’s not enough that the tomb is empty. It’s not enough to proclaim, “Christ is risen!” It’s not enough to believe in the resurrection. At some point we have to move from the event of the resurrection to experiencing the resurrection. Experiencing resurrected life begins with recognising the risen Christ among us. That is the gift of Easter and it is also the difficulty and challenge described in today’s gospel.
Today’s Gospel is the conclusion of Luke’s account of Jesus’ first post-resurrection appearance to his disciples. The two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus have returned to Jerusalem to confirm the women’s story of the resurrection. While they are excitingly telling their story, Jesus appears.

Luke goes to great lengths in his Easter accounts to make clear that the resurrection was not the fantasy of crazy zealots nor is the resurrection story a plot concocted by the disciples who somehow managed to spirit the body of Jesus away (according to Luke’s account, the disciples themselves had not gone near the tomb themselves or even expected any kind of “resurrection”).  In the details he presents here, Luke is countering the arguments forwarded to explain away the resurrection myth.  There can be no mistake:  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reality, a reality in which all of the Scriptures find their ultimate fulfilment.

For Luke, the power of Jesus’ resurrection is realised in the way it “opens” one’s heart and mind to understanding the deeper meaning of God’s Word and to fully embracing the Spirit of God.  In our faith and trust in the Risen Christ, we become “witnesses” of the mercy and forgiveness of God.

In the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, God reveals in a specific moment of
history, in a specific location on earth, the limitless and eternal love the Father has for
his people.

God continues to make the miracle of the empty tomb present to us in the caring, compassion and love we receive and give -- the love we have witnessed in the suffering of Christ, a love that is victorious even over death.

In today’s Gospel, the Risen Jesus challenges his disciples -- and us -- to recall what he taught and what they had witnessed.  The Easter miracle is God’s assurance that love and forgiveness, even in the most difficult situations, are never offered in vain; in learning to cope without losing hope, in learning from the painful realities of life and in accepting the lessons learned in God’s Spirit of humility and patience, we become capable of growth, re-creation, transformation -- and resurrection.

Just as the Risen Christ asks the Eleven for “something to eat,” he asks the same of us today in the cries and pleas of the poor and needy among us.  In imitating his humble compassion we, in turn, discover meaning and purpose that “feed” our own hunger for meaning, for fulfilment, for God in our lives.

Easter faith opens our eyes and hearts to realise God’ hand in every moment of time, transforms our attitudes to realise the need for God’s compassion and forgiveness in every human encounter, lifts up our spirits to hope even in the face of life’s most painful and traumatic moments.