Sunday, May 3, 2020

Always Easter

To repeat the same news over and over again is one way to highlight its importance. To hear the proclamation of the resurrection, over and over, during these Easter Sundays strengthens our faith by the witness of others’ faith - in particular that of the apostles. That is why one of the most noticeable features that distinguishes Easter from other seasons of our Catholic liturgical calendar is the daily reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Through our journey with the original apostles through the book of Acts, we identify ourselves with that first generation of Christians in their experience of the Risen Christ, becoming like them a community which witnesses to the presence and action of the Risen Lord in his Church, something we very much need to be at this difficult time.

In today’s 1 reading from Peter’s preaching to the people that first Pentecost Sunday [Acts 2:14a, 36-41], Peter wanted his hearers to feel personally impacted by his message – not simply hearing some new bit of information about which one might or might not care, as we all do all the time in our “information age.” According to the Acts of the Apostles, Peter was apparently quite successful. The people, we are told, were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?”

The proclamation of the good news – whether in 1st-century Jerusalem or 21st-century Tennessee - ought always to lead to that same invitation to respond with true conversion of heart, in repentance which resolves guilt with forgiveness and the freedom which comes from forgiveness. As Peter told the people, the promise is made to all those ... whomever the Lord our God will call. We hear this message repeated, Sunday after Sunday, during this Easter season, as something intended not just for the 1st century, but for every time and place and especially for this terribly difficult time in which we find ourselves here and now.

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter, Immaculate Conception Church, Knoxville, TN, May 3, 2020.

The entire Mass may be viewed on the Immaculate Conception Church Facebook Page and later on the parish website

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