2cornucopias

Cause of Real Hope

In 13 Today's Church on 2017/04/28 at 12:00 AM

In our Gospel today we are presented with another post-resurrection appearance of our Blessed Lord. On Easter Sunday we heard about Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene. Last Sunday we heard about two of His appearances to His apostles.

  • Today we hear the famous account of our Lord’s appearance to two of His disciples as they were walking on the road to Emmaus.
  • In fact all of our readings today give us some sense of the early Church’s joy and conviction that Jesus Christ truly did rise from the dead.
  • As we consider the marvelous mysteries of our Faith that we have celebrated in these past few weeks: Jesus’ Last Supper with the apostles in which He gave us the gifts of the Eucharist and the Priesthood, our Lord’s suffering and death on Good Friday, His Resurrection on Easter Sunday, and the great gift of His mercy that we recalled last week on Divine Mercy Sunday, we must ask ourselves if we’ve been changed at all.
  • Even though we recall all of these mysteries (as well as the many other mysteries of our Faith) on an annual basis, we cannot celebrate them simply as anniversaries, per se.
  • Our annual celebration of the mysteries of our Faith cannot simply be the day each year that we call to mind said mysteries, leaving them aside the rest of the year, for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not simply a memorial celebration. It’s more than that.
  • We recall the mysteries of our Faith as a means of drawing closer to God and thereby growing in holiness. Each mystery of our Faith should be to us another example of God’s great love and mercy, and a reason for turning to Him in repentance and love.
  • As we prayerfully meditate on each of the mysteries of our Faith, and we find God’s love pouring out through these mysteries, we must allow these mysteries to take root in our lives and actually become a part of who we are. We must allow them to transform us.
  • So for example, during our sprinkling rite today we recalled our baptism and the fact that when we are baptized, we are baptized into our Lord’s death and resurrection.
  • And so we are called to die to sin, to die to our selfishness, which we especially focus on during the Season of Lent by taking on extra penances and fasting.
  • But during this glorious Season of Easter, as we celebrate our Lord’s victory over sin and death, we rise with Him to new life. Thus we are called to rejoice! This we do not just by feasting rather than fasting. We rise from the dead by choosing to live lives of joy!
  • Indeed, each of the Sundays of Easter is meant to be a feast of great joy – just like the joy we see expressed by the disciples who encountered our Lord on the road to Emmaus!
  • As we call to mind that we are in the month especially dedicated to our Lady, and that today we celebrate Mother’s Day, it is good for us to turn to the Mother of our Lord as our model for rejoicing in our Lord.
  • Throughout the course of the liturgical year, there are four great Marian antiphons that the Holy Mother Church employs to help her children pray for our Lady’s intercession.
  • Here at St. Ann’s we chant these antiphons at Sunday Mass, usually during Holy Communion. These antiphons rotate on a seasonal basis.
  • Thus, from Trinity Sunday until Advent, we sing Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen). From the beginning of Advent until the Feast of the Presentation in early February, we sing Alma Redemptoris Mater (Loving Mother of the Redeemer).
  • From the Feast of the Presentation through Good Friday, we sing Ave Regina Caelorum (Hail Queen of Heaven). And throughout the course of the Easter Season, we sing the Regina Coeli.
  • Perhaps you’re familiar with this prayer, which reads: “Queen of Heaven, rejoice! For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia, has risen as He said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
  • Legend has it that Pope St. Gregory the Great was walking barefoot in a procession behind an image of our Lady painted by St. Luke on an Easter morning in Rome, during which he heard angels chanting the first 3 lines, to which he added the 4th line.
  • While we don’t know for certain if this story is true, what we do know for certain is that this ancient antiphon has been in use by the Church since the 12th century.
  • What is most important about this antiphon is not its origins, though, but rather the message to rejoice that it conveys. Mary is called to rejoice in the hope of resurrection, a hope that, as Christians, we are also called to bear daily in our lives.
  • Hope is incredibly important to us Christians, for of the 3 theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity that we receive at our baptism, hope is generally the most enduring.
  • Long after faith and charity tire and fade, it is hope that keeps us moving along in the Christian journey. Indeed, it is hope that leads us through the Christian journey because it is hope that keeps us from becoming discouraged when faced with the cross.
  • Because of this St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, “Hope does not disappoint.” (cf. Rom 5:5) For hope picks us up and keeps us focused on God and His promises.
  • And no promise made by God is more important than the promise of eternal life, which is the center and focus of all our hopes as Christians.
  • Because Jesus, the one whom Mary, the Queen of Heaven, merited to bear, has risen as He said, we have the sure and certain hope of being able to rise from the dead too, if we are but willing to repent of our sins and do our best to follow His will.
  • It’s because we have this hope as Christians that we are called to rejoice and live a life of joy – most especially during this Easter Season! It’s because of this hope of rising again that Christians can rejoice – even in the midst of sorrow and suffering.
  • Today, my brothers and sisters, we are reminded once again that our Lord has truly risen from the dead. Therefore, we must rejoice in the hope this gives us one day rising from the dead, too.
  • With our mother Mary as our model and our intercessor, may our lives of hope-filled rejoicing make us holy and transform us more and more into an image of our risen Lord.

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

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