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4/21/19 Easter Sunday - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Easter Sunday
The Resurrection of the Lord 
Lectionary: 42

The Mass of Easter Day

  • Today we celebrate new life in all its many forms…
  • The new life that Jesus promises us in His resurrection…
  • The new life that we see all around us in creation, as the earth awakens from its long winter’s sleep…
  • And the new life that stirs within us as we experience the warmth of spring and summer approaching…
  • Christianity is about new life...
  • It’s built upon the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love
  • Jesus’ resurrection from the dead revealed three great truths:
    • That faith is never in vain…
    • That hope can never by dashed…
    • And that love can never be destroyed…
  • These three truths are what help to make the Gospel Good News
  • And it’s these three truths that we celebrate not only today but hopefully every day...
  • Faith is a gift from God
  • But like any gift – It must be acknowledged and it must be accepted
  • Our salvation doesn’t hinge on our ability or strength to resist temptations – It hinges upon our FaithOur unshakeable belief in Christ’s promises – and in Our conviction of God’s deep love for us...
  • Richard Rohr once noted that “the opposite of faith is certainty...”
  • In our quest for certainty, we can often lose our faith...
  • We’ve become so used to instantly finding answers to every question – That we often look for answers to questions that are not meant to be answered...
  • We need to re-examine our certainties, and leave room in our lives for mystery...
  • The mystery that is our God… The mystery that is our faith
  • Faith is the ability to live in uncertainty, without fear...
  • Christianity is about hope
  • It’s all too easy to get caught up in the malaise of life’s difficulties and challenges… and when we do: Hope is always the first casualty
  • It’s easy to lose hope when we face personal struggles and setbacks in our lives…
  • It’s easy to lose hope when we begin to mistakenly believe that we are not enough just as we are
  • Today we celebrate the hope and the promise that death no longer has the last word...
  • Today we celebrate the hope and the promise that our lives are more than just “of this world...”
  • Today we celebrate the hope and the promise that we are God’s beloved and that our lives matter more than we can ever comprehend...
  • Hope is a very powerful force… It can not only lift us to new heights, but it can also sustain us when everything around us tells us to give up…
  • Christianity is about love
  • Jesus showed us what love looks like through His life, death, and resurrection…
  • We live in a world that teaches us that we must earn everything, including love
  • A world that requires us to be productive in order to be loved… a world that insists that we be physically attractive to be loved, that tells us that we must be intelligent to be loved, that we must be wealthy to be loved, that we must be successful to be loved… 
  • The list is endless – But it begs the question: What type of love is this that needs to be earned?
  • The love that the world promotes is conditional love – It’s a “contractual” love that says “I’ll love you as long as you satisfy a need that I have… as long as you continue to perform satisfactorily…” 
  • When these conditions cease to exist, the love disappears... 
  • God’s love is different – It’s “covenantal…” 
  • God’s love is independent of what we do or do not do…
  • God’s love is without conditions… 
  • God loves us because love is Who and What God is... 
  • This isn’t easy to accept because it goes against everything that we’ve been taught by the world… 
  • Yet – It’s the basis of our Christian faith – It’s the Good News of the Gospel… and it’s the hope of a world where hope is so desperately needed... 
  • To God, love must always be “unconditional,” or it wouldn’t be love... 
  • God’s love has nothing to do with how we perform… It has everything to do with who we are as His beloved sons and daughters… 
  • We’re loved by God because we’re His children, regardless of our race, religious persuasion, ethnicity, wealth, poverty, success, failure, attractiveness, or unattractiveness
  • God loves all of God’s children, and all of God’s creation: All of the time - With no strings attachedjust as we are… right where we are
  • If this weren’t true – There would be no good news
  • It may take us a lifetime to internalize this truth, but until we do, we’ll continue to try to “earn” the love that’s already ours… and we’ll never be able to find the “peace” that the world cannot give
  • Today we celebrate – and celebrating is good... but we must know what we’re celebrating in order for it to feed our souls....
  • Christ’s resurrection calls us to stop living on the surface of life and on the surface of our faith… It calls us to go deeper...
  • Reflecting on the meaning of this day and meaning of our lives is where we can start...
  • Believing in God’s unconditional love for us is the bedrock that we can build upon
  • And understanding that we never need to earn God’s love is how we move forward...
  • Someone once wrote: “Eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts now.  It’s not about life that begins at death; it’s about experiencing the kind of life now that can endure and survive even death.” (Rob Bell, Love Wins; Pg 59)…
  • Perhaps that in essence is what we celebrate today… the life that God promises will sustain us even through death itself
  • If that’s not worth celebratingI’m not sure what is

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