Easter-Vigil Homily

The Body of Christ Dead in the Tomb Hans Holbein

He made the heavens and the earth. He liberated the Israelites from slavery. He sent the prophets to proclaim the Messiah. And then He lay in the tomb, wrapped in a burial cloth.

We read about the cloth yesterday, at the end of St. John’s account of the Passion. And we will read about the cloth again tomorrow morning; St. John mentions how the Lord left the cloth behind, in the tomb, after the resurrection.

In Turin, Italy, they comforted the world today by taking a camera into the vault where they keep the holy shroud. We can all venerate the cloth that wrapped the dead body of Jesus, through the internet.

We do not deal in myths. We have no vague religion. You ask knowledgeable people, when will this virus crisis be over? And the only answer is… some theory. Maybe a solid theory. But a theory. ‘Well, theoretically it could be over by May 31,’ or ‘theoretically it could stretch out,’ etc.

We, however, do not stand on no theory. You’re not reading your phone or computer right now because of a theory. We Christians stand squarely on facts.

He dwells in heaven, the divine and human Christ. Father Kyle spoke Thursday about the Lord’s abiding presence at every Mass, even the private Masses that we priests celebrate these days. And Jesus remains present in the tabernacle of every Catholic church or chapel, 24/7.

The Savior remains with us. We need Him now more than ever, of course.

priest_jesus_mass

Also not a myth. Our faith in the Real Presence. Based on facts, like “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood.” “Do this in memory of Me.” “He who eats my flesh remains in Me and I in him.”

Now, a skeptic could reasonably ask: “Wait. You’re saying that one man, one carpenter, who died a long time ago, keeps you company, all over the world? That an ancient Jewish man lives in every little piece of bread you call a consecrated Host?

“Call the epidemiologists! It’s an outbreak of widespread insanity, called Catholicism!”

Ok, ok. We accept your question, Mr. Skeptic. We are not, in fact, insane, but perfectly calm and mentally healthy. How can one man live, in the flesh, in every Catholic church on earth? How?

Two-part answer.

1. He is no longer dead. This man lives, in the flesh, in heaven. He did die. Then He rose again, and left the burial shroud in the tomb. He possesses life, the likes of which we cannot fully imagine.

We do not say that a mortal man like you and me unites Himself with us in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. We say that a man like you and me, Who died and rose from the dead, unites Himself with us, in this way.

2. He is the true God. God made flesh. The Mass involves no magic trick. It involves God making His risen human body present to us. If God Himself did not have a human body, we could have no Eucharist. But He does have one.

Heaven exists. Jesus’ body dwells there. And God, Who is heaven, can make heaven present wherever He wills to do so. And we know perfectly well where and how He wills to do so. He Himself said it: “Take this. This is My Body.”

Death has a grip on the world right now. None of us will ever forget this terrifying nightmare of COVID-19. But heaven has a stronger grip. Coronavirus packs a heavy punch. But the Body of Christ, risen from the dead, stands like a brick wall of undying life.

4 thoughts on “Easter-Vigil Homily

  1. Sobering to think that most of us don’t have it very bad now (yes, I complain, but I still know what I just said is true). But the deaths—and all those who lost the dead— and the people who lost their jobs and the people who won’t have a nickel in a couple weeks. And no end in sight to the dying and no end in sight to economic trouble. What about these people who do have it very bad? What will they say to God on this Holy Saturday? Perhaps with the prophet Jeremiah they’ll call God a deceitful brook. And who could blame them?
    Ann White

  2. Perhaps they will say to God that they love and trust him and call upon Him to help them through this time of tribulation. Suffering is a part of life…loving and believing in God does not relieve us of pain and hardship in life.
    I think I will do whatever I can to help support those suffering financially. I know of a family member who plans to give their $1200 to those in true need.
    I think if I were to call God a “deceitful brook” I would blame myself whether the world did or not.
    Judy Rogers

    1. Following God’s commands, Jeremiah did more difficult and dangerous work than you and I will ever do. He didn’t preach to other people that suffering is part of life; he screamed at God about how much he had to suffer because of God’s own commands. What better way to live than to struggle with God directly over both obeying and hating his commands? That example for us is one reason why Jeremiah’s words and experience are in the Bible.

  3. I did not have enough replies to you how much I appreciated your. Biogs of well thought out information about how much Christ loves us
    And your tireless work for the parish and how you always listened with a forgiving heart confession and how you loved us unconditionally and always directed us to follow the tenants of our church and have given. Obedience to your vows
    Now if that is not what the Bishop envisions for st Joseph I am at a loss for. Words or. Prayers
    O love u
    I

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