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04/01/18 Easter Sunday - Fr. Reggie

In today’s First Reading St. Peter reminds us that the Risen Christ only revealed himself to those who believed in him. Only those who believed in him were then blessed by meeting and eating and drinking with the Risen Lord. He reminds us that “everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name”: on the day of our Baptism we had an encounter with the Risen Lord that transformed us into children pleasing to Our Heavenly Father, and he continues to reveal himself to those who believe in him. An encounter with the Risen Christ in faith is always a salvific and transforming experience.

In today’s Second Reading St. Paul reminds us that an outlook of faith keeps our eyes fixed on the things of above. When we gaze above in faith, we know the Risen Christ stands at the right hand of His Father and intercedes for us. If we don’t see him it is because our faith is not strong enough and we need to beg for more. Pope Francis describes a certain class of Christians in Evangelii Gaudium who seem to live a permanent Lent: they have not had an experience of the Lord and his love, and, therefore, the Gospel brings them no joy.The Resurrection banishes vanity from our lives and changes our perspective.

In today’s Gospel, we see that the Resurrection didn’t sink in for the disciples until they witnessed the results themselves. It leaves us in hopeful suspense because death no longer had the last word. The disciples had all the facts. Christ could raise the dead. Martha saw his brother Lazarus raised after three days in the tomb. The mourners of the dead little girl’s daughter mocked Jesus when he said she was sleeping, and then he “woke” her up. Even Mary thought today that the body had been stolen. The disciples walking to Emmaus had all the facts. After the Transfiguration, he told Peter not to tell anyone until he was raised from the dead and kept repeating that he would be raised from the dead on the third day. The disciples were clueless. We can’t blame them. Even today there are a lot of disciples of Christ who are clueless. All the facts are at hand, but they lack faith, and so they live as if eternal life is a fairy tale. We have many more signs that they did: the Church has testified to the Resurrection for over two thousand years, and many of her children have gone to the grave believing that someday they would rise, just as Our Lord did. Like John in today’s Gospel let’s look at the signs of Jesus’ resurrection–an empty tomb, a suspiciously well-folded head wrapping–and simply believe.

A few years ago, Random House published a book called Made to Stick.

It is an interesting analysis of six characteristics that make ideas sticky

It was written to help communicators - from teachers to professional marketers - communicate better.

One of these six characteristics is credibility.  Credibility is the quality of an idea that makes people believe in it, it makes them buy into it. The authors give examples of how to make ideas credible. They tell about a medical scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove that bacteria, and not chemicals, are the cause of ulcers. They tell about ad campaigns that boosted sales by associating products with celebrities.

They also mention something that marketers call The Sinatra Test.  This comes from Frank Sinatra's famous song, New York, New York. A line from that song that says, "If I can make it there (in New York), I can make it anywhere." The "Sinatra Test" is precisely that - a single example or test case that proves credibility without any room for doubt.

For example, the authors explain: if your company is in charge of security at Fort Knox, that's automatic credibility; if your company caters events at the White House, that's automatic credibility. You'll have a very good chance when you bid for other jobs.

Christ's resurrection is what makes Christianity pass The Sinatra Test

Jesus Christ claimed to have the secret to eternal life, to a lastingly meaningful life, to the kind of happiness that we all yearn for with all our being. Others have made similar claims: Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, Zoroaster, even modern gurus like Deepak Chopra [DEE-pack CHOH-prah]. And yet, have any of them passed the Sinatra Test? Even one?

 Only Christ has won the irreversible victory and shown undeniable credibility, by rising from the dead.

This morning we should relish the great victory Christ has won for us by his resurrection and thank him for giving us a share in it. 

How different our day-to-day lives would be if we believed this truth with our whole hearts! We know the future! We know what's in store! The sick child who has to be operated on is in pain and frightened. But the parent can reassure him, because the parent knows that the operation, as painful and frightening as it might be in the short term, will bring health and happiness in the long term. We are those children! The sufferings and struggles of our lives are the healing cuts of God's scalpel. But we are also those parents! Because we know that if the cuts of the scalpel make us more like Christ crucified, they will also bring us to share in the glory of Christ resurrected.

How can we let the power of Christ's resurrection seep into the depths of our minds and hearts? 

There is one very simple thing we can do that will make all the difference: Keep the Lord's Day Holy.  Every Sunday of the year is a solemnity, a day dedicated to the cornerstone of our faith: the Resurrection. This is why the Church has made Sunday Mass obligatory - to make sure we don't forget about the Resurrection! To make sure we remember where we're going!

But we need to do our part too.  Coming to Mass is the essential. But if we want to live our Sundays to the full, if we want our lives to take on the rhythm of the Resurrection, we have got to use our creativity and imagination to make the whole day different. The way a Catholic lives Sunday should be different than the way a non-Catholic lives Sunday.

Today, the greatest Sunday of the year, let's honor the Lord not only with our voices, but also in our hearts. Let's promise him that between now and Pentecost we will use our creativity to make our Sundays different. And let's ask him to give us a hand.

 

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