Our Sins Are Forgiven – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily April 18, 2021

“Every Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord and particularly and these Sundays of this Easter Season we are invited to reflect upon the different accounts of the Resurrection. This evening’s reading from St. Luke talks about the fact that Jesus came to the apostles and they were terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost. The apostles really did not understand when Jesus had told them beforehand that he would have to suffer and die but would rise on the third day, but when Jesus comes to them he proves that he is truly risen and he is not just a ghost not a disembodied spirit, but rather that truly he is a full human with body and soul glorified transformed, but truly fully human. That message is such an important one because it reminds us that truly we are all to be redeemed fully as human beings both body and soul and Jesus to affirm this not only says, ‘Look at my hands and look at my feet and see the wounds that are there on my body.’ but also he asks them, ‘Do you have anything to eat?’ and he eats it in front of them, again trying to emphasize that he is truly risen from the dead and that that promise of resurrection is one that is given to them and to all of us that that is the great message of Easter is that truly we are redeemed. The Lord has died for the forgiveness of our sins and brings us into the fullness of life with him. That is the continual journey that we have and in the both the first reading and the Gospel reading today, we see that message that repentance for the forgiveness of sins is to be preached throughout the whole world that that was the message of the early church. That is the message of the Church of our own time. That is the universal message, repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Now in a way that doesn’t sound like a very positive message, but to recognize that yes, our sins are forgiven is a very important message and one that we all need to hear for by ourselves we are a slave to sin, but through the redemption of Christ we know the freedom of the sons and daughters of God and therefore we are called to live as people truly brought to freedom and repentance is really the means by which we come to freedom. Christ came to bring each and every one of us freedom to become the full person that we are called to be, the freedom not only from the slavery of sin, but freedom to choose what is best to work towards our future to know the ultimate life to which we are called, the life of Heaven itself. We are called to freedom, but what so often what passes in our culture as freedom is either nothing but licentiousness or a different form of slavery. So often it is slavery to a sin. It is slavery to selfishness. It’s a slavery to angry or to lust or to fear and Jesus came to bring us freedom that truly we are called to be released from those things that would bind usthat would hold us back, but it takes conversion of heart, change of mind, new life, new attitude, new spirit to truly live that out.

So often, we are controlled by fear. It was interesting to me and I’m sure that many of you saw it this last week that one of the production managers for a major news outlet said that really they deal in fear because fear sells. It’s interesting. Jesus said the opposite. ‘Don’t be afraid. Don’t allow fear to freeze your heart, to control your life. Don’t allow fear to bind you, but rather to know freedom, the freedom that I bring with an awareness that yes, the most important evil is not physical death.’ and obviously we need to take care of ourselves. We need to protect ourselves. We need to take safe measures to protect our physical health, but Jesus said, ‘Don’t be so much afraid of the person who can kill your body as the one who can kill your body and soul and send you to Hell.’ That’s the one to fear and yet so often that’s not what our culture says as it rationalizes sin as it trivializes truth as it transforms that which is good into that which is bad and that which is bad into that which is good. We are called to truly recognize our dignity and our worth and what is the truth by which we are invited to live so that we may know freedom. I’m sure many of you are familiar with Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University and one of the things, it’s interesting about that is when someone has become debt free, they’re invited to come on to the broadcast and to exclaim aloud, ‘We’re debt free! Freedom!’ That is the cry, freedom and that is interesting, but we are the ones who are truly debt free. We are free from the debt of our sins and we are called to live a life of freedom. We are the ones who should be shouting from the housetops, ‘freedom!’ Freedom is ours because of Christ Jesus. Freedom is ours but to live it and we are called to continual conversion so that we may truly live that freedom that Christ died to bring us that freedom that alone will bring us to the fullness of joy and the fullness of life. Let us not only cry out, but let us live freedom.”