Father Brian Konopa’s Homily 2019-04-20 Easter Vigil

By | September 3, 2019

– For three years, Jesus had
preached a challenging message to love one’s neighbor, whether
he or she is a stranger, a foreigner, or even an enemy. And he lived it. He showed up at
homes and parties, seashores and marketplaces, synagogues and
courtyards of the temple. He befriended tax
collectors, and prostitutes, fisherman and Roman centurions, scribes and Pharisees. He gave sight to the
blind, healed the lepers, and raised the dead. Few people saw what
his disciples saw, both men and women, especially the inner
circle of the 12 apostles. And at least three times,
they heard his prophecy, that the son of man must
be handed over to sinners, and be crucified and
rise on the third day. This was a big topic
at The Last Supper. And it was go time. Then it happened. On the third day,
women disciples who had come from
Galilee with Jesus, took the spices
they had prepared, and went to the tomb. It had been a long three years
for Jesus, and his disciples. But nothing compared
to these last few days. Now it’s the time of
fulfillment and glory. Jesus must’ve been
glad for his disciples, who had learned deeply
about his greatest miracle. He has conquered death. He is alive. Never to die again. Imagine the joy and peace
they will experience when they learn this truth, the truth of the words he spoke before raising
Lazarus from the dead. I am the resurrection
and the life, whoever believes in me,
even if he dies, will live. We don’t have to imagine or
guess how the disciples reacted. The gospels record it. The women disciples
found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus,
and they were puzzled. Puzzled, puzzled? Okay, not a problem, because Jesus sent a
couple angels who said why do you seek the
living one among the dead? He is not here, but
he has been raised. Remember what he said to you
while he was still in Galilee? That the son of man must
be handed over to sinners, and be crucified and
rise on the third day. Ohh, scripture says they
remembered his words, then they returned from the tomb and announced all
these things to the 11 and to the others, and
told this to the apostles, but their story
seemed like nonsense. And they did not believe them. Nonsense, nonsense? (heavy sighing) This could’ve been go
time for the apostles. How real is Jesus
to you, and to me? Have we been operating on
go time the last few days? Last few weeks, months? Last few years of our lives? Do we really believe
that Jesus shows up at our homes every day,
and follows us around? And that he shows
up at our parties, our shopping excursions,
our vacations. Or do we believe he
just shows up at church, or whenever we choose to pray. How important is it to us,
whether Christ was resurrected, or whether his body was
stolen from the grave? Do we believe in miracles,
like for ourselves? Our own bodies, our own souls? Or are miracles just things
that happened in ancient times, and maybe some medical procedure is so incredibly successful
with barely any odds, that we just say well
that’s a medical miracle. How important is Jesus’
message, his commandments, his kingdom, and his
church to you and to me? We believe we are called
to live our vocations more faithfully, more kindly. To love our neighbors
more consistently, and to forgive those who
have hurt us most deeply. Jesus, resurrection, miracles,
commandment to love all, the Catholic church, are
some of these troubling, puzzling or even nonsense? Most of us believe
in all of this, and perhaps all of us wish
we believed all of this more than we do. Jesus was truly risen and
is truly risen indeed, whether the women disciples
were initially puzzled, or fully believed, whether the apostles initially
considered it nonsense and chose not to believe,
or fully came to believe, became missionaries,
and martyrs, regardless of their faith
or ours, Jesus is alive. How did they turn the corner? Remember, this is
the first advice the angels gave the
women disciples, remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee? Oh. Then let us remember the word
of God found in scripture, and let us remember
the action of God in our individual lives, like
the blessings we already have. There is something
powerful in remembering and counting our blessings. God becomes more real. Allow him to become more
real, count your blessings. How did Peter turn the corner? Peter got up and ran
to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial
cloths there alone, then he went home amazed
at what had happened. Peter sought Jesus. Now Jesus initiated all of
this, but Peter responded. Being amazed didn’t
mean he believed, but Peter responded
and was open for more. And more would be given,
because that night, the risen Lord appeared to him. Jesus is always meeting
us more than halfway. Jesus is always initiating. We need to respond,
and more will be given. So how real is
Jesus to you, to me? Remember and respond. Remember, remember the word
of God found in scripture. Remember the action
of God in our lives, and the blessings we
have already received. Remember and count
our blessings. God will be more
real to us then. Respond. Jesus will initiate,
he will never give up. He didn’t give up
on his disciples during his earthly life, and clearly he didn’t
give up on his disciples during his resurrected life. Jesus is the God
of new beginnings. Jesus is resurrection and life. Respond and more will be given.

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