Not Confined – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily April 11, 2020

“We are an Easter people and our song is alleluia!  How often I have quoted St. Augustine with those words because I believe they summarize so very simply what our life is about what our celebration this evening is about and what our eternity is about for truly we are an Easter people.  We are a people of the resurrection. We are a people of the resurrection. We are a people of conquering sin and death. We are a people who have hope in eternal life with God the Father the Son and the Spirit. Our song is alleluia, praise God!  Praise God for his goodness. Praise God for his love and his care for his salvation of each and every one of us through Christ Jesus. This is the holiest of feasts this feast of Easter and that’s one of the reasons why I know it pains us that we can’t be together as a large congregation gathered together in this church as has taken place here for 27 years that we are separated physically, but nevertheless we are one with each other.  I know in a very special way that our catechumens, the elect who are preparing for baptism this evening and our candidates who are preparing for profession of faith and both of them for confirmation and to receive the Eucharist. I know how disappointed they are that they are not here in this church this evening to celebrate those sacraments that they have yearned for and long for within their life, but that day will come. We plan on Pentecost, God willing, that we’ll be able to celebrate those sacraments with those members of our RCIA, but this evening we do Gather together as a people of faith as a people of hope even in the midst of this pandemic we recognize that there is reason for hope because of God’s presence because of God’s presence in our world.

We are invited to go with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to the tomb and to discover that empty tomb, but you know the empty tomb in itself does not prove the resurrection.  It only means that the tomb was empty, the body was gone. What proved the resurrection was the experience that Mary’s had with Jesus and then eventually the apostles and 500 more.  They had that experience with Christ risen from the dead and it was that personal encounter with Christ that truly transformed their lives and it’s the transformation of the lives of the apostles and all those disciples of Jesus that truly give testimony to the power and the reality of the resurrection for truly Christ is risen.  Christ not only died on Good Friday, but he triumphed over sin and death and resurrection. There would be no Easter without Good Friday, but Good Friday would have no meaning without Easter without the conquering of sin and death through the resurrection and that glorification of humanity that takes place as the will of the father bringing about salvation.  How blessed we are to know that we share in the very life of Christ himself that we share in his life through baptism and through the Eucharist. You know, as Jesus hung upon the cross after he died and when the soldier thrust that spear into his side it said water and blood came forth, reminders prefiguring the waters of baptism, the blood of the Eucharist. It is those two sacraments in particular that flowed from the side of Christ in his death and those are the two sacraments by which we experience the power of the Resurrection the reality that we are new creatures through our baptism into Christ Jesus as we were reminded in that epistle reading where we who are baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death and resurrection have become a new creation in him put on a new life a new attitude a new spirit that can make us face ven the most difficult challenges the most difficult crosses with a sense of peace, a sense of hope for Jesus as he appeared to the disciples to those women said, ‘Do not be afraid.’  Do not be afraid. What important words those are for us today to not be afraid because we are one with Christ Jesus. We share in his life. We share in the promise of eternal life and God’s love will always be with us and that love of God is manifested so very beautifully within the Eucharist and I know that’s a particularly painful thing for Catholics as we celebrate Easter not being able to experience sacramentally Christ in the Eucharist. What a great sacrifice that is because we long to know that personal union with Christ, the gift of his love, the gift of his caring, his compassion that he truly is with us with his grace and his strength, but we can experience Christ spiritually and that spiritual communion can be a powerful time for us because it can enable us, yes to be aware that we yearn for that day that we can share in holy communion again, but it also helps us to experience the reality of Christ’s presence right here and now for Christ truly is not confined to this church. Christ sends his grace out into the world into our homes and into our hearts and that time of spiritual communion is a reminder that Jesus is truly with us that his love truly permeates our homes and our lives that Christ is there and the spiritual communion just invites us to be consciously aware of that to be more consciously aware of that and to open our minds and hearts to be embraced by Christ Jesus.  How blessed we are as a people to know that tremendous love of Christ Jesus that yes, Christ died for us, but Christ is risen. Christ shares his life. We are one with him now and will be forever. Yes, we are an Easter people. We are a people of the resurrection and our song is alleluia, praise God!”