Father Valan Arockiaswamy

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HOMILIES

Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

Easter Sunday (Year A)

Apr 12, 2020 Views 143 Listen 5 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (10:34a, 37-43)

Peter proceeded to speak and said: "You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name."

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23)


(R) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. Let the house of Israel say, "His mercy endures forever." (R)

The right hand of the Lord has struck with power; the right hand of the Lord is exalted. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. (R)

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians (3:1-4)

Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on Earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Gospel

A reading from the Gospel according to John (20:1-9)

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him."

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial clothes there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

There is a story of a boy walking down a road when a frog called to him, "Boy, if you kiss me, I will turn into a beautiful princess." The boy picked up the frog, smiled at it, then placed the frog into his pocket. A few minutes later, the frog said, "Boy, if you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for a week." The boy took the frog from his pocket, smiled at it, then put it back into his pocket. A few minutes later, the frog said, "Boy, if you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will do anything you want!" The boy took the frog from his pocket, smiled, and put it back. Finally, the frog cried, "Oh! Boy, what is the matter? I have told you that I am a beautiful princess, and if you kiss me, I will stay with you and do anything you want!" The boy took the frog from his pocket and said, "Look, I am just a student, I have no time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog is cool!"

Friends, we have spent forty days in prayer, fasting, penance and spiritual reflection to prepare ourselves for today's celebration, the Resurrection of the Lord. I would like to ask you - Do you personally and truly believe that Jesus Christ is alive; that he is risen; that he has conquered death; that he has overcome darkness; that he is our Lord and Savior? If you do, then, Alleluia! Amen! If you do not yet believe, then what does the resurrection of Christ mean to you? Why are you here today? I put the question to you because how and what we believe affects how we live. We may regularly go to church, say all our prayers, sing hymns, participate in all the religious activities, celebrate many more Easters, and yet not be moved or changed a bit in our life. We can still be the same as we were yesterday.

For some Christians, today is just another Sunday with perhaps a few changes: in the worship, the color of vestments, the decorations and the duration of the liturgy. Some of us could get quite complacent and be indifferent to the whole celebration. Though our body is here, our mind and heart could be somewhere else. We may not be really focusing on what we are doing here and now. It is because I am afraid that many people perhaps see Jesus Christ as a talking frog whose teachings and miracles are very cool, and bring a lot of comfort and that's all. No doubt some of us warmly and gladly welcome Jesus into our life too. Remember! While he was on earth many people liked him. They followed him wherever he went. They admired his knowledge and wisdom. They applauded his miracles and wonders. The disciples witnessing his transfiguration and appearance with Moses and Elijah on Mount Tabor said to him, "Lord, it is good for us to be here", Matthew (17:4). But how many people really believe in his promises, and obey his teachings? Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, "If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free", John (8:31-31).

Friends, it is one thing to be baptized in Jesus' name, proclaim him as Savior, and keep Christian symbols and images in our pocket, in our homes and in our churches and it is another thing to truly believe in his promises and make him part and parcel of our life. The latter is what he wants us of us.

Through the resurrection, Christ is offering many gifts to us. However, four gifts are worth reflecting on today.

  • The Risen Christ promises forgiveness for our sins.
    John (1:9) says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." According to the scriptures the punishment for sin is death. But now because Jesus has died for our sins and is resurrected, he has conquered death and brings forgiveness of sins to those who trust him. Therefore, let us confess our sins honestly, sincerely and in faith, relying wholly on his mercy and grace for complete forgiveness, and our deliverance from the darkness of sin.
  • The Risen Christ offers us the gift of peace.
    Jesus said to his disciples the night before his death, "My peace I give you; my peace I leave with you." When he appeared to them after the resurrection he said to them over and over again, "Do not be afraid! Peace be with you!" As we look around at our hearts, our lives and our world, one wonders if anyone is interested in accepting the gift of peace. Many times we just don't seem to want the gift of peace. We seem quite comfortable making ourselves and others miserable. Or we try to make peace on our own, by taking charge of it ourselves and not relying on God to help us. Friends, let us remember that the gift of true peace is available only through mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today he comes back and shares his peace with us as well. He offers it to us as a gift. He wants us to live in his peace. He wants to make peace real within us and around us. As Easter people, we can take that gift of peace seriously, and make it part of our lives, and share it with others.
  • The Risen Christ promises eternal life.
    Jesus says in John (11:25), "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies." Imagine! Our Lord loves us so much that he wants to be with us for eternity. He gives eternal life to those who believe in him.
  • The Risen Christ promises the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Jesus says in John (16:7), "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." The Helper of Whom he is speaking here in context is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is important in our life. He is the one who teaches and helps us understand the truth.

Today the Risen Christ comes back to us in the fullness of life without a trace of anger, resentment, revenge, or bitterness and wants us to accept these gifts. Let us receive his gifts with gratitude and joy, and praise him forever.

(P) Amen.

Happy Easter, Alleluia!

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