Tune In To Christ – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Easter Homily April 12, 2020

“We are an Easter people and our song is alleluia.  How often I have used those words of St. Augustine as we celebrate an Easter Sunday.  We truly are an Easter people. We are people of the resurrection and yes our song is alleluia, praise God!  Praise God for his goodness to each one of us in Christ Jesus. Normally on Easter these pews would be totally full and downstairs as well and I have to admit that quite often on Easter Sunday I’m a little frazzled with all the action all the activity of people coming and going and Masses going on at the same time, but I tell you truly today I truly miss all that hustle and bustle, I miss all of you and your presence here in the church and I’m sure that so many of you truly miss being able to be here to celebrate this Eucharist to celebrate this resurrection of the Lord physically, but nevertheless we are able to do so spiritually and how blessed we are to be able to come together in that spirit of prayer as we celebrate this day, yes this day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it because irrespective of the pandemic and irrespective of the challenges and the difficulties that we may have in our world and yes within our personal lives, we come to celebrate the victory of Christ Jesus over all the powers that would destroy that ultimately the victory is Christ Jesus and it is Christ because he died and rose for our salvation.  

On Friday we remembered the death of Christ and today we celebrate this Easter Sunday and Easter is the high point of our liturgical our spiritual life because it is the event that makes all the difference in the world as Christ overcomes sin and death.  Yes, Good Friday is so important and there could be no Easter without Good Friday, but Good Friday without Easter would be meaningless and so we know that yes, there is suffering and pain and death of Good Friday, but there is also the joy of the resurrection in Easter and so we celebrate that today.  In spirit we are invited to go with Mary to the empty tomb and with John and Peter who also went to that tomb and looked in and saw that the body of Jesus was gone and that led them to wonder what had happened, but the empty tomb in itself is not proof of the resurrection. It only means that the body of Jesus was not there.  What was really the proof of the resurrection for the apostles and for many more was the fact that the risen Christ came to them personally, embraced them, taught them, revealed his risen life to them and that was totally transforming to them that experience of the risen Christ Jesus. Even we see in that first reading today where Peter who had denied Christ stands up in the middle of Jarusalem and proclaims Christ and the power of his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins and so how important it is for us to be witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus ourselves that our lives are changed because Christ is risen from the dead.  And yes, we’ve not had a vision of Christ, but nevertheless we experienced Christ’s redeeming grace. As Jesus hung upon the cross on that Good Friday after his death the soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and there came forth from that side water and blood. Certainly a human result of his death, but even more importantly the water and the blood flowing from the side of the deceased Christ are symbols of those two fundamental sacraments of baptism and Eucharist by which Christ embraces us and encounters us within our life. Easter is the great feast of baptism when we are called to renew our baptismal commitment when we are invited to realize that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus that we are different people.  We live with a different attitude with a different sense of purpose and meaning and value within our life we live as people who yes, still must go through the travails of life even the travails of these days, but we do so with a different awareness because we know that the victory is in Christ Jesus and through our baptism we are made adopted sons and daughters of God that we share in that very life of Christ himself. How blessed we are to know the real purpose in the end of our life that our destiny is to truly share in the fullness of God’s life forever and that Eucharist that beautiful presence of Christ instituted at the last supper on Holy Thursday, but that Eucharist in which Christ comes to us personally to embrace us with his love to say that yes truly he is with us in all of our lives and I know one of the more difficult things for most of you is the fact that you can not experience that presence of Christ sacramentally to this day to receive Christ in holy communion and I know your hearts ache for that day that we can experience Christ sacramentally that he comes to us personally that we can gather together as a community again to celebrate the gift of his love and to experience that love so personally, but in the midst of these times it’s important for us to realize that Christ is truly with us.  We take that time for that spiritual communion and spiritual communion reminds us that Christ is always with us, but we need those moments in which we tune in to Christ and the power of his presence. The Eucharistic presence of Christ is not restricted to this church. Yes, there is a tabernacle here, but this whole church is a tabernacle for which the love of Christ radiates out into all of our lives into our homes, our families, into our own hearts. To be aware of that is the purpose of the spiritual communion to take those few moments of being open of recognizing yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus is present to me, right now. And so, until that time that we can come together to celebrate and to experience Christ sacramentally, those moments of spiritual communion at any time can remind us of God’s infinite love revealed in Christ Jesus.

This Easter is certainly different for all of us.  It’s a different experience, but in a sense it’s the same experience.  It’s that awareness of God’s love and of his tremendous caring for each and everyone of us.  For we are a people who celebrate Easter not just as a little different day in the year, but rather as a life changing event for we are transformed and we are witnesses to Christ Jesus and so yes, we today celebrate the resurrection of the Lord.  Christ is risen, Christ is truly risen within you and within me. Alleluia!