Homily for 3rd Sunday of Easter April 10, 2016
Today’s readings help us understand the importance and the centrality of the resurrection to what it is to be a believer and lover of God. Christ’s death showed the complete love of God for his creatures but the Resurrection raised that love to heights unimaginable to humanity in the condition that their nature had taken them. Humanity at the time of Christ lived more in terms of survival and looking out for self and what was their own. Justice was harsh and “eye for an eye” was one of their rallying cries for justice. Even today this idea and reality exists in the world and certainly has led to war and violence and suffering throughout the ages. The reality of God’s love was certainly in the world before Jesus came, but his physical presence and teaching brought a whole new dimension. His message of love looking out for the poor, the downtrodden, in fact anyone unable to look out for themselves. Embedded in that love and most strongly coming forth from the resurrection was forgiveness. Love is giving and not taking. It looks out for those we meet, we come across, even those who scorn or hate or revile us. Understanding, compassion, yes, these and all the actions God’s love calls us to share. Forgiveness is not always easy. Hurts and slight can seem to be wounds to the center of our being, yet who are we to deny forgiveness, if God and our Risen Christ were able to forgive the total morass of the evil side of all humanity?
What really is the benefit of revenge? Does injury to another make our injury less? Certainly, life is complicated, but we profess to believe and act out of God’s love. I do not claim the answer is simple to evil and to unjust force, but after thousands of years, shouldn’t we have learned about reason and intelligence in a world so obsessed with power and force? Love will always win out, even as Christ’s love of dying on a cross was the ultimate act of love’s triumph.