CACINA

Homily at Holy Trinity May 10th, 2015 6th Sunday of Easter

Posted in Called, christian, homily, religion, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on May 10, 2015

Homily at Holy Trinity May 3, 2015 5th Sunday of Easter

Posted in Called, Eucharist, homily, inspirational, religion, Resurrection, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on May 3, 2015

Homily for Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord, 2015

Posted in christian, Christianity, homily, inspirational, religion, Resurrection by Fr. Ron Stephens on March 29, 2015

Homily for Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord, 2015

St Paul in 1st Corinthians tells us, though not in the readings today: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Those are pretty strong words and certainly in Paul’s eyes make the Resurrection of Jesus one of, if not ‘the’ most important event in church history, and indeed in the history of the world. The resurrection is also the one thing that many people find difficult if not impossible to believe – it is a terrible stumbling block especially in this scientific age where we need to have proof before belief.

In reality, I am not sure that Paul is totally correct. I have a feeling that there are many people out there who take the resurrection with a  grain of salt and yet still have great faith in Jesus. The reason that Paul thinks it is so important is because his whole theology hinges on the Jewish idea of sacrifice for atonement of sin and that only in God’s own death can enough atonement be made. The resurrection shows that indeed Jesus was up to the task because he was truly the Son of God. In today’s reading Paul concludes: “For our Paschal lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the festival…”

Paul also uses the image of yeast but we have to understand that yeast was not really a good thing for Jews. Yeast was a fungus, and for bread to be pure, it needed to be unleavened. That is why in the Passover feast the bread was unleavened by order of God, and even why we use unleavened bread at Mass (though often what we use looks more like a potato chip that what we are used to as ‘bread’. So in the image Paul uses today, we are to throw out the old bread that has the yeast fungus which in Paul’s metaphor means wickedness and bad intentions, and celebrate with pure, unleavened bread, Paul’s metaphor for sincerity and truth.

The facts of the Resurrection as we know them are contained in Paul’s letters and in some of the Gospels, and particularly in the Acs of the Apostles by Luke. Our first reading today is a news report of sorts, with the eye witnesses telling us that God raised Jesus from the dead and that he was seen by a chosen few after the Resurrection event and that they even ate and drank with him. The eye witness reports were obviously important in pleading their case for this very unnatural event.

When we get to John’s Gospel today, we read a description that was written some forty to fifty years after the event, and has been influenced by the original witnesses surely, but also the stories that built up around Jesus in those fifty years. In that period of time and with communities in different locations it is no wonder that a few of the ‘facts’ differ int he Resurrection accounts, but they are still remarkably similar. In John’s account it was Mary Magdalene that got up very early, before light even, and went to the tomb. She saw that the stone blocking the entrance had been removed. She must have peeked in because she ran immediately to Peter and another disciple and told him the tomb was empty and the body had likely been moved or stolen. The two men she told ran to the tomb, the younger getting there first, but in deference to Peter he did not go in, but merely looked inside from the door.

What he saw were the white linens in which Jesus’ body had been wrapped still lying there.

When Peter came and they both went in, the also found that someone had taken the time to fold the linen that had been on Jesus’ head.

Apparently, however, they still never thought about Jesus being resurrected, even though they had been told by Jesus that he would rise again, and that Scriptures had foretold this as well. The two men went home but Mary Magdalene, upset that she didn’t know where the body was so that she could mourn, stayed at the tomb and cried. Someone came to her – it may still have been dark even – and asked why she was crying. She turned to the man and told him why but didn’t recognize Jesus. She thought he might be the gardener and would know where they took the body. When the stranger called out her name, she immediately recognized Jesus, and apparently fell on her knees and wrapped herself around Jesus legs. Jesus asks her not to hold on to him. It seems that the resurrected body is somewhat different from the ordinary body, and we will explore this fact over the next few weeks as we see that people sometimes do not recognize him, that he can come and go at will, even through walls, and can move great distances. Yet, at the same time he can be touched, he can eat and drink, and he has still the wounds from his crucifixion. It is also interesting to me that the person he first shows himself to is a woman, and that she is the messenger to bring the Good News to the apostles, just as Mary, Jesus’ mother, is the first to answer Gabriel’s message and feel the child in her womb, and brought the Good News into the world. It is clear to me that women are the bookends that hold the story of Jesus together.

This day is the day we have been preparing for for 40 days. After a fast, food tastes especially good.  If you have done things to prepare yourself, this day should especially feel good for you as well. It is our yearly reminder of one of the most important events in the life of Jesus and the church, and foreshadows our own resurrections from the dead.

The Sequence today summarizes what should be our feelings beautifully: Share the Good News, sing joyfully: His death is victory… Christ the Lamb has saved the sheep!

This is the Good News that we all share in today! Rejoice and be glad!

Bishop Ron Stephens

Pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Warrenton, VA

The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

[You can purchase a complete Cycle A and Cycle B of Bishop Ron’s homilies, one for every Sunday and Feast, from amazon.com for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]

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Fr Joe’s Homily on Mother’s Day May 11, 2014

Posted in christian, Christianity, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, Resurrection by Fr Joe R on May 11, 2014

Homily May 11, 2014 Fourth Sunday of Easter

Posted in christian, Christianity, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, Resurrection, scripture by Fr Joe R on May 6, 2014

may 11 2014Today’s readings are set both before and after Christ’s resurrection. The gospel talks of the shepherd and the sheep. Jesus is the Shepherd, and we know that after his resurrection he sent the Spirit who filled Peter and the Apostles to go out and preach Jesus, crucified for all. Together, Peter and the Apostles went out and as one spread the Word of God. Their actions and sacrifices to carry out that task has encouraged generations of followers even up to our present time. In Christ’s Spirit we are one, open to listen and believe what is best for up. Shepherds remain today for leading us to still faithfully carry out His commands. All of us to the best of our ability are trying to carry out and live out that faith handed to us in our own life.may 11 20141
For most of us, that means we got our faith from the sharing of it from our parents. This is how it should be and each of us should be grateful for what we have received. Scripture certainly reminds us that in spite of anything we should honor and respect our parents for what we are and have received. Today, we choose in our country to honor our Mothers because so often we neglect to say thank you and I love you. So easily do we take for granted who they are and what they do. It is hard to realize, but a Mother, never forgets, loses sight or stops worrying. Only a mother knows what it entails and has experienced the whole cycle of events leading to child-birth. After that we very much share in the joy and all that follows in the years to come. Over time, the expectations of motherhood and family have differed and changed. As society changed in the last century we saw the role of mothers shift as they needed to leave home and enter the work force. Stay at home Moms are much less common in 2014 than in 1914. The picture of family while different, still is much the same. It is Mom who is in many ways the first and most familiar voice and touch. With Dad they are our first teachers, examples and role models. From our first moments, through the years, through all the learning and activities they are there. may 11 29142Aside from whatever job they might have had, we were the most important. Through our young years, our adolescent and rebellious years, Mom was there. She(and Dad) never forget. No one understood or were ready to accept and even forgive than they were. We should not forget that who we are is due to Mom and Dad. Who of us can forget their help in life? With my own Mom and Dad, I can never forget after I was ordained, that each Sunday I was close enough, they were at my Mass. Being a son is a special bond and a care only a parent understands. It is just so that Moms are special and we honor and thank them today. May God bless you all and your children.

Fr. Tony’s Homilies for May 4, 2014–#RD Sunday of Easter

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, inspirational, religion, Resurrection, scripture by Fr Joe R on May 4, 2014

Fr Joe’s Homily at Holy Trinity for 2nd Sunday of Easter, April 27, 2014

Posted in ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, Resurrection, scripture by Fr Joe R on April 27, 2014

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on April 20, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

John 20:1-9

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. 10173582_697013510362669_217212863_nSo she ran and went to Simon Peter and to 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 cloths 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 the 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.

Reflection on the gospel reading: I believe Jesus was bodily resurrected from the dead, and it is this fact that makes of all material reality a poem and imbues it with lyrical meaning. The resurrection of Jesus shows that the material world is a sheer veneer that covers shimmering truths; it is a course veil spread over what is brightest and truest: those mysteries that abide beneath the surface of what we see, taste, touch, hear, and smell. The resurrection of Jesus testifies that the things in the world of the senses, the things that we can measure, are absolutely true still but not the most real reality. Jesus’ resurrection pierces the veil to reveal the freshest deep down things that lie out of sight just beneath the surface and makes us see that what is true is seemless, that the surface things of daily life and the deep down things of mystical experience are really and truly one and the same thing. The resurrection of Jesus teaches us that the promise of life is that just as we now see, taste, touch, hear, and smell to sense the surface, one day we will throw away every illusion and abide in what for now is the mystery beneath the surface.

Spiritual reading: Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. (Easter Homily by John Crysostom)

Homily April 19, 20, 2014 Easter- The Resurrection

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion by Fr Joe R on April 16, 2014

easterThis Easter night, to truly appreciate the Resurrection of Christ, we must remember the experience of Good Friday. In one way or another, all of us have experienced dying and death. The stark reality of it being so final, being cut off from someone we knew and loved, being left to go on and be alone so to speak. Jesus had been a man with disciples and had forged a new teaching and relationship with his followers. His teaching on love and the need for it and the love and care for one another all in a few days had seemed to be obliterated and led to his disciples easter 4fleeing and hiding themselves. They were truly at a loss for what to do and how to carry on. The swiftness, the brutality, the finality all had them huddled in fear. What they had seen and heard, they did not understand. They felt lost, abandoned, purposeless.

The news of the empty tomb was implausible. In their fear, they did not understand. Like all of us they were afraid of the worst. What was the impending new disaster? Was there more to fear? Were they in peril? Seeing the tomb they began to believe, but like we ourselves know, believing is like a seed that needs to see and hear and be assured. Gradually they came see and believe that Jesus was alive. What he was, what he taught was real. God truly was love and this spirit came on them and was present in a new and different way. His son had come and died and rose and now lives to carry on that message to all and extend his forgiveness if we have enough faith and love to ask for it. Few men and few entities enter history and are remembered for centuries. The constant presence of Christians from the time of Christ in itself shows the belief that his resurrection and spirit continued in the world. As he taught and instructed his message continues today. We see him and easter3know him in our sacraments, most notably in the Eucharist, His very body and blood, poured out for us, yet given in a unique way that he can be a part of us and we of him.

Yes, this is the day the Lord has made. Easter is truly a new beginning for how the love of God was poured out to the whole world. True life is now measured in the love of God and how we carry out that love by loving as we are loved. It was and is a new beginning. Humanity unfortunately still needs to learn much to erase the evils of the world, but Easter and the resurrection gives hope that all the dark days and good Fridays of this world can be put aside and life restored in the way God intends. Working together the world could do so much. In some ways this has happened, yet selfishness and all the other foibles inflicting us, interfere with the message of Christ. Remember Christ said to go out to all the world, preach and baptize. The more we do, the more his gift of faith and love will come to this broken world of ours.easter2

Homily March 31. 2013 Easter Sunday Resurrection of the Lord John 20: 1-9

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion by Fr Joe R on March 27, 2013

As we look at the resurrection from our time and perspective, we find it based on the faith and love we have. No where is there an actual account of the event as there were no witnesses to it. In fact, what we get is the presentation of an empty tomb. First Mary and then Peter and “the beloved disciple”. This account draws on the love Jesus had for them and the faith developed over their time with him.. Still, we are told the Beloved disciple sees and believes.

Both men experienced and saw the empty tomb and it was from there that their faith in the resurrection developed. Jesus’ resurrection was like his birth, a moment in time that was special, yet as a product of God’s love, disseminated only in a way that fit his inscrutable plan. Neither event was a big flash of news, what we would call the big Internet moment. It was an event capturing the hearts in his love of his faithful followers. His subsequent appearances all came after the empty tomb encounter. He talked with them was touched and ate. Yes he was real.

What it means is that God has worked his plan. All of us have the ability to raise ourselves up by the love of God and our faith in him. If we have given ourselves to die with him, we too will rise and share life with him. He has made it possible to reverse the effects of sin and evil. Now we can say no to them and remain faithful.

But once again, we know this only from the The love of God and the faith we have in him. Like the Beloved Disciple, we believe because of this and the profound experience of the empty tomb and the passing on of it from then to now. Christ is truly risen and present in our life and the church even today. Surely there is a constant to that love and belief, even with all the human faults and failures of the centuries since, Christ’s presence and love continues to be here in the world and among us here and now. Faith calls us to respond and listen, to see and believe, to hear and to act. Yes, Christ is Risen!