lunes, 20 de abril de 2009

2nd Sunday of Easter (B)

Homily: 2nd Sunday of Easter. I celebrated mass without other priests, for the first time, last Saturday evening (I didn't co-celebrate). Here is the homily. You may find it a bit abstract, but I'm beggining to know the parishioners. The photo is an old one, taken at Nstra. Sra. de La Guardia, in Argentina.

Jesus open locked doors

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples were together behind locked doors. The doors were locked for fear of the Jews. Suddenly, Jesus appeared and stood among his frightened disciples, in their midst.

It’s important to recognize Jesus’ first actions and attitudes after he was raised. They are essential for our faith since they reveal us how God truly is and point out the way in which we, believers in this risen Christ, should walk.

Jesus didn’t stay outside the disciples’ house. Locked doors were not an impediment for Jesus to meet his disciples. Although Jesus could have been disappointed with the disciples’ fear, he didn’t accuse them of being unfaithful neither scold them for shutting themselves in, away from the world. Instead, he stood in their midst.

Locked doors could symbolize locked hearts, narrow minds, sectarian communities (which shut themselves up in their own business) or selfish countries (which don’t care about the rest of the planet and usually close their frontiers). All these or others doors are usually locked for fear. The disciples feared the Jews. Also people with locked hearts fear love; narrow-minded persons normally fear different ideas, thoughts and beliefs. Sectarian communities often are afraid of development, evolution and broad horizons. Selfish countries fear cultural diversity, global justice or universal common good. Although in all these cases fear might be reasonable, fear closes our doors preventing communication with others (we shut ourselves of) and it hampers us to have peace and to rejoice.

The way Jesus unlocked people’s doors

Jesus unlocked his disciples and free them from their fear firstly by standing among them, in their midst. Then, he offered them his peace and showed them his hand and side, signs of his resurrection. Afterwards, he gave them a mission: “as the Father sent me, I send you”. But were these frightened, coward and unfaithful disciples qualified to receive the same mission as the Son of God had received? How could they transform they fear into love? Where could they find the necessary strength to carry out this holy mission? Were they able to open their doors –i.e. their means, hearts, minds, religious and social communities-? The disciples weren’t qualified neither had the strength to perform this mission. That’s why Jesus breathed on them and asking them to receive his Spirit, the Spirit of the Resurrection, the Spirit of the new life. As the Father breathed on the first man at the beginning of the world and human life started, now Jesus breathed on his disciples starting a new life.

The disciples, with the Holy Spirit inside of them, are able to forgive the sins of others (something reserved in the Old Testament only to God). Forgiveness, then, is the main way Jesus has chosen to preach his resurrection. In fact, the power of God’s forgiveness, now delegated to his disciples (all of us), are the best and perhaps the only way of renewing and transforming our damaged relationships. This is certainly the best “key” to open locked doors. But if we want to use it, first we need to receive it. It is necessary to be firstly forgiven by God to forgive others in his name. Jesus’ forgiveness is the fruit of his Passover. It is not granted to people who deserve it only; it is granted to everybody. His forgiveness, now in his disciples’ hands, is the key to open locked hearts, minds, communities and countries. Forgiveness is the key to open the doors for a new life.

In this Easter, Jesus wants to unlock our lives. Although he could be disappointed with our current fears, he won’t stay outside our lives neither want to accuse us or scold us for shutting ourselves, our church or our country in. Instead, he is standing among us, in our midst, in front of our miseries. He knows that this is the only way to redeem us. He wants to grant us his peace and to show us signs of his resurrection (this mass is a sign that he is alive). He wants us to be rejoiced, despite our fears, our weaknesses, our problems, and our social and economic crisis. And while we are being unlocked, this means, while we are being rejoiced by his presence, peace, by the signs that reveal us that he is alive and by his mercy, he is sending us to the world so that we can unlock others.

The mission

Being unlocked and receiving this new life is certainly an undeserved gift. When someone receives such a gift, it is very unlikely that he/she wants to keep the gift to himself/herself. The bigger and more unmerited the gift is, the more we usually want to share. Think about receiving a free ticket to have dinner in the best restaurant of Bath, but with the condition to eat completely alone.

Each Easter Jesus, the risen Christ, wants us to receive his Holy Spirit so that we -frightened, weak and unfaithful people as the disciples were- can preach about the “new life” we have received and we are constantly receiving. With the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can witness to the world a different way of life, a new life were peace, joy and forgiveness are possible, because Jesus granted it to us at Easter.

2 comentarios:

  1. Querido Augusto, a pesar de que nos contactamos casi diariamente por vias informáticas, al leer tu homilía para tu nueva parroquia en Bath, tomé conciencia de la distancia. Pero también de la cercanía que nos da la comunión en Jesús y en su Iglesia, porque "all round the world" contemplamos los mismos textos cada día y cada semana.
    Muy buenas tus referencias a la incomunicación casi "babeliana" entre comunidades y países, por el temor que nos ha invadido. Sin duda este gran día de 50 jornadas que es la Pascua y su atardecer pacífico que será Pentecostés son la antítesis de esa incapacidad de comunicación y ese aislamiento al que hacés referencia. ¡Hágase!

  2. Muchas gracias Pablo por tu comentario. Gracias también por tu cercanía y por tu interés. Espero que este medio nos ayude a sostener la comunión a pesar de la distancia. Que el Espíritu nos ayude a superar la nueva "Babel" en que vivimos. Saludos a Romi y a los chicos, Augusto.