Believe In The Gospel – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily April 17, 2021

“In today’s Gospel we continue to hear stories of Christ appearing before his apostles. This is at the end of the Gospel of Luke and it’s just right after the road to Emmaus where appeared before two disciples walking away from Jerusalem and they saw him appear and they realized it was him the whole time in the breaking of the bread and now it starts the Gospel and they’re in the upper room. They’re hiding. They’re afraid because they don’t understand. Their master had just been crucified and they don’t know what to do and so these two disciples come back to the rest of the apostles and they tell them this story. Not only that, Jesus appears before them and the first thing he says is, ‘Peace be with you.’ Peace be with you. That is one of the most quoted phrases in scripture. The Lord be with you. Peace be with you. Why is that? Because in some ways we are afraid of what we don’t understand what we don’t know, and the resurrected Christ is that. The road to Emmaus, why couldn’t they see him? He was there. Why couldn’t they notice him? Here in the apostles, what is so different in his resurrected body? He disappeared before them. He went through the walls, but yet he says, ‘Look at me. Here are my flesh and bones.’ It’s kind of comical, but he even says, ‘Do you have anything to eat?’ Would you think that a resurrected body would need something to eat? These are the mysteries of the resurrection. It’s not a ghost. It’s not just a spirit. That’s why in our faith it’s mind, body and soul. That’s why we bury our bodies and wait for the resurrection on the last day for our souls to come with our bodies. Heaven is not a place far far away or a different realm, but really it’s coming upon us here on Earth and so what is the resurrection for you? Are you a witness to the resurrection? Has this event changed your life? Has it changed the way you see things, the way you hope, the way you mourn, the way you suffer, because it should. Does it call you to repentance? The first thing Jesus said in his public ministry is ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel.’ He continues to say, ‘Repent of your sins and believe in the Gospel.’ and so too even here he comes back to the apostles and says, ‘Everything that you’ve heard from the scriptures, the prophets, the psalms are all true and so repent and believe in the Gospel.’ Repentance of our sins, we hear it over and over, but now that Christ has truly risen, now we should take those words even more importantly into our lives that now we don’t have to be afraid of our sins, of repentance. What is keeping you from God? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Maybe instead of what are your sins, maybe think what is keeping you from God? What is keeping you from God? What is keeping you from loving relationships with others and what is keeping you from loving yourself as a child of God? All those things are technically sins. They keep us from the fullness of ourselves. They keep us from the love of God and they keep us away from a relationship with God and as the second reading says, ‘We have no fear to face those things because we have an advocate which is Christ with the Father.’ and for us here in our faith we have the sacraments that Christ gives us that Christ is truly present before us.

One of the things I’ve always learned or always thought about, what are the main sins of our lives? One thing that I’ve been thinking about recently, the sin in my life, but also I can see it within the culture is a sense of objectification. Now oftentimes when we think of the word objectification we automatically think of maybe sexual sins, you objectify someone, but I think we objectify ourselves. We treat ourselves as objects and yet we treat others as objects as well. An object, something that does not change something that you can just point at and name, but that is not what we are. We are growing aren’t we? We’re always growing, but yet sometimes we name ourselves as our own sins that we’re stuck. We’re stuck in our ways. ‘I’m angry. I’m always angry. I always have been angry.’ That’s objectifying yourself or we do it with others, ‘Oh that person is an old grouch and they always will be.’ That’s objectifying them. It doesn’t give them the grace of growth and so sometimes we objectify ourselves, but why? Why do we do that? It keeps ups from loving ourselves. It keeps us from receiving God’s grace, but also it keeps us at arms distance from others because we fear the mirroring back, what they will see back at us that they will just see us as an object. Can we see ourselves as something more? Our faith is built on that we are children of God and just like children we know they grow, they learn. They have to fall to get back up and so too with us, but are we willing to face our own sins to things that keep us away from ourselves, others, and God. There’s always the fear there. There’s always a tension, but during this Easter season we have the great hope that Christ is truly risen and what do we have to be afraid of? You see it in the zealous actions in the Acts of the Apostles in the first reading that these apostles who are in some ways fools before, clumsy with Christ there. Now that Christ has risen things have changed for them. It’s because they repented and they believed in the Gospel and so too God is calling you to repent, but not to stay there. Believe in the Gospel. The Gospel message is that Christ, the son of God came to die for our sins, but he has risen and we sing alleluia! So as you come before the Lord today where Christ is truly present before you in the Eucharist always know that he didn’t leave us alone on this journey of life, that he gives himself in the Eucharist to know of his presence in our lives but to give us nurturing, sustain us in our health, our spirit throughout our pilgrimage. Amen.”