Historical Reality – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily April 4, 2021

“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! That responsorial psalm really summarizes the feelings we should have this day as we rejoice in the resurrection of the Lord for Jesus’ resurrection was always part of God’s eternal plan for human salvation and eternal life. We come as a people to recognize that Christ has truly risen from the dead, not a symbol, but a fact of historical reality that Christ has overcome the power of death. With those early disciples we are invited to go to the tomb and to recognize the fact that the tomb is empty, but that does not in itself prove the resurrection, but rather it is the impact that Jesus had upon the disciples as he appeared to them as he made himself known and as he transformed their lives so utterly and completely. Easter is about transformation. It’s about new life. Unfortunately sometimes I think we look upon Christ merely as an historical figure as someone who lived and walked in Galilee and Judea of someone who spent that time here, a great moral leader and teacher someone who suffered and died upon the cross and yes, he rose from the dead, but somehow those are all things of the past, but that is to miss the point totally and completely for Christ is risen today. Christ is more alive today as he was when he walked in his human form around in Palestine for Christ truly in his glorified body lives in the glory of Heaven, but also promises to be with all of us to continue his presence. Jesus is not an old historical figure like Washington, Moses or any of those, but rather Jesus is alive today and Jesus shares his life with us. That is the reality of the resurrection that Jesus has triumphed over sin and death and lives in the glory of the Father and we are called to do the same. The two great sacraments of Easter flowed from the side of Christ as he hung upon the cross. The water and the blood that flowed from his side symbolized that pouring forth of the waters of baptism and the blood of the Eucharist and we are invited to reflect upon the fact that it is through those sacraments as well as the others, but particularly through those sacraments that we are called to share in the life of the risen Christ that Christ has shared with us in baptism. We who have been baptized have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection. Because of our baptism we are different people. We have a new reality. We live in a different realm. So often in science today they refer to evolution and the evolution of the human species and other species and that’s all fine, but the fact is when we look towards the future of humanity it’s not through evolution, but rather through the action of Christ for Christ has taken us to a whole new dimension of human existence. It’s a quantum leap into life with God forever. That is the reality of our dignity. By reason of our baptism we are members of God’s family. We are adopted sons and daughters. We share in the very life of God himself. That’s our dignity! That’s our worth! God has loved us so much. The challenge is to accept that love that is manifested for each and every one of us and to live out that dignity in the midst of a world that does not share that quantum leap into a greater life with God, a world that so often embraces evil rather than virtue. We are called to live out that dignity that is ours as sons and daughters of God destined for eternal life. And the blood of Christ poured out upon the cross is the blood given up for our salvation and Jesus promised to stay with us always and it’s in a special with through the Eucharist that we share that we have that abiding presence of Christ for in the Eucharist we do not have just a sign or symbol or a reminder of Jesus, but rather it is the very person of Christ himself who comes to us in the humble form of what would appear as bread and wine, but truly his very self that that is the privilege that we have to share in every Eucharist. Christ comes to embrace us with the gift of his love. Christ loved us so much that he died upon the cross for our salvation. He loves us so much that he journeys with us each day. He loves us so much that he wants us to be with him forever in Heaven and he would ask for our response. Do we welcome him? Do we allow our life to be transformed by his life for entering into the new destiny that new dimension of human existence requires that we enter into union with Christ Jesus for it is not through evolution but it is by transformation just as it was for the earliest disciples that we come to know what the fullness of life is of what eternal life is about and so at every Eucharist we anticipate that fullness of life that Christ gives us. The Eucharist gives us food for the journey here, but it is also a pledge of our everlasting life with God. How blessed we are. What a tremendous gift we celebrate in this Easter and in every Sunday as we come together for the Eucharist for we don’t come just once a year, but we come every week in order to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord and to welcome Christ more fully into our own lives into our own hearts to be transformed that we may truly be the children of God that Christ died to make possible for us. How blessed we are.

St. Augustine had that beautiful phrase, ‘We are an Easter people and our song is alleluia.’ Yes, we are an Easter people. We focus in upon Easter because it is that new entry into the fullness of life. We are an Easter people because we celebrate that we are transformed through the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and our own welcoming Christ into our lives. Yes, this is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it because through this day we have life now and everlasting.”