This is my Sunday homily for 11 April 2010, 2nd Sunday of Easter for FDU Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, Newman Catholic Association (Teaneck, NJ). Mass is Sunday 7:30 p.m. during Fall and Spring Semester. To view the readings, go to http://www.usccb.org/nab and click “April 11” in the calendar.
[__01.] Do we need a reason to wake up at a particular time?
I’d say Yes. I need a reason. Perhaps, we all do – a reason to wake up at say, 5:45 a.m. or 6:45 a.m. or whenever it is – to wake up because it will be beneficial to us. Some good will come to us if we wake up on time.
This good might be – health, education, work.
But, without any reason, we might sleep in. Do not disturb.
[__02.] Sometimes, we also do not want to be disturbed by the idea of right and wrong … good and evil … ethical and unethical.
We favor the idea of God’s mercy but we also fear the idea of changing our own lives … in response to what is truly right.
Sometimes, such a change might involve, for example, the loss of a friendship, the loss of status, the loss of money.
[__02(a).] Friendship and peer pressure can, for example, be occasions that lead us away from our Lord or to be locked up.
In the Gospel today, the disciples are locked behind a door, away from Christ who comes to them anyway. But, they are locked up, afraid.
Sometimes, we also lock ourselves up or we lock ourselves up … and tell the Lord, please do not trouble me…
This can happen whether we are student or a professional … young or old …
[__02(a)-1.] For example, we can recall times when our “friends” wanted us to do something with them or for them … something that might involve danger or harm. Maybe, we are at a party … maybe
We are away for the weekend.
Maybe, we figure no one is going to get hurt…
But, in our consciences we know something is wrong. So, we put out the sign -- Do Not Disturb.
[__02(a)-2.] Another example, we may feel angry or bitter toward someone because of something he or she did to us, to hurt us.
In this case, anger and bitterness become a locked door.
One lesson we can learn from the Passion and Death of Jesus is that we will suffer for sins … as Jesus suffers for our sins, sometimes, we will suffer because of the sins of others against us.
An important lesson of the resurrection is that we can be freed from sin and we can conquer sin.
[__03.] It is part of our sacred life as Catholics and as believers to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness, and to let the Lord into the doorway of our lives.
We may feel vulnerable or scared about letting Jesus in.
For example, if we were to reject the invitations of certain “friends” who seem only interested in helping us to enjoy life and have a good time, then we might risk the loss of those “friends”.
We would feel vulnerable, scared.
In such a case, we would be similar to the apostles who feel vulnerability and fear behind the locked door.
At the start of this Gospel, they seem to have have forgotten the words that Jesus
said to them:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.” (Mark 8:31)
They seem to have forgotten the last part…about rising from death.
[__04.] This Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Easter – also known as Divine Mercy Sunday – Jesus gives his apostles the Holy Spirit and power to forgive sins.
This is the sacred moment of confession, the sacrament of confession and the receiving of absolution from a priest.
Forgiveness is sometimes as difficult as waking up when we are very tired or anxious about what will come when the night is over and daylight comes.
[__05.] When we come to the Lord and repent of our sins, we are unlocking the doors. This is true when we admit our sins to priest and when we offer an apology to someone we have hurt and when we receive/accept the apology of someone who has hurt us.
When we admit our own sinfulness and brokenness, we are doing what is also difficult early in the morning, we are waking up and permitting ourselves – through the peace of Christ and the the Holy Spirit -- to be disturbed. [__end__.]