If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

4th Sunday of Easter

Fourth Sunday of Eastertide (B)
(Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12; 1st. John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18)

I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.
It would seem that the reason why so many in our society and in our world today reject Jesus is because they have, beforehand, in the depths of their hearts, already rejected the Father’s calling-and-teaching voice, His guiding-and-sustaining hand.
No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him.     (John 6:44)
This refusal to be taught by the Father, to be guided by Him, and to trust in Him, is not always or necessarily a religious confrontation, for the Father Who has created all men relates to them in whatever details of their personal lives and daily experience.  One does not need to have heard of Jesus, one does not need to have any religious conviction, to be affected by the Father, for He desires and seeks to guide all humankind from within the depths of their being.  We often speak of His guiding with respect to our human conscience, and that is correct; but we must not imagine that He only speaks to us explicitly about right and wrong, about good and bad.
Jesus said once ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’, and so the Father speaks --  by His Spirit in our innermost being -- about what way we should travel to attain our ends, about truth in all its beauty and variety, and about life … what is its meaning, its purpose, its end?   He speaks to us about our aims and aspirations: what ideals should we seek?  Gain makes for profit but cannot command integrity,  so what worth Is there in a life where self-seeking schemes are top priority while self-giving aspirations are practically excluded?  The Father of our human family speaks to us about our neighbour: what sort of respect should we show him, can we ignore him, use him, or indeed, perhaps even harm him to attain our own most important ends? And surely, He is the supreme guide for parents and teachers, boys and girls, in their mutual relationships and responsibilities.  Indeed, there are countless ways in which the Father seeks to speak with each and every person made in His image before ever directly involving religion or mentioning Jesus.  And our response to all these most respectful promptings gradually builds up either an habitual attitude of hearing, listening and responding to, that inner voice of One so intimately close to us, and yet somehow, other than and above us, or else an increasingly determined will to entertain nothing other than our own private thoughts and ideas, pursue nothing but our own secret purposes.
There is another contributing cause for modern society’s turn from Christian faith and it becomes clear if we consider again those words of Jesus:
I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.
Too often Christians, rather than witnessing to the God with Whom they are intimately one in personal love, appreciation, and commitment, are, instead, inclined to present themselves, their own individual convictions and personal integrity; or else they may point to the Church as a powerful organization with a unique ethos manifesting itself in distinctive social attitudes and practices, a Church calling for obedience in response to its many rules and regulations long before inviting and encouraging us to know and love the One Whom all its rules and practices are meant to proclaim and serve.
Now, the reason why seekers for God, for truth, for meaning and purpose in life, embrace Christianity, is hope for eternal salvation and fulfilment despite the mysterious power and depredations of sin in our lives and in the world around us: an aspiration to knowledge of, and communion with, the mysterious God Whose  reflected majesty, might, and splendour never cease to enthral us in the creation surrounding us on all hands; a yearning for commitment to and love for the Lord Whose goodness is Personal and Who seeks our like response to His sublime wisdom and transcendent love made uniquely manifest in the life and teaching, death and resurrection, of Jesus our God and Saviour, and handed down to us in the beauty and truth of the Christian and Catholic Church which carries His Body and bestows His Spirit.
Today however, few seek to appreciate and understand the Christian Scriptures and Catholic teaching in order to truly love God first and foremost in their lives, with the result that the words and example of Jesus are largely ignored:
            The Father knows me and I know the Father.
The Father knows and loves each one of us disciples of His Son through and through, and He uses His infinite yet subtle power to influence and guide us to the fullness of the possibilities with which He has endowed us and the promises which He has made to us, and it is in our constant dialogue and communion with Him that our destinies are shaped.  Those who refuse to respond to the Father’s influence in the depths of their human experience for whatever reason can know nothing about Jesus.  Whether or not they might have heard of Jesus is ultimately irrelevant: a pagan in the remotest jungle is as capable of rejecting the Father’s call, as is an American in Paris, as was an educated and religious High Priest when Jesus walked in Palestine.
Of course, this individual responsibility is both feared and hated by the world around us.  Always some circumstance -- some unavoidable circumstance, some reason -- some incontrovertible reason, some influence -- some ineluctable influence, is said to prevent individuals from choosing what is good and to excuse them embracing what is bad.  Why God Himself, it is claimed at times, could surely not blame individuals for some of even the most outrageous, horrific, or depraved actions, and would, most certainly, not punish them!!
And yet Jesus’ words are ultimate truth:
            No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.
It is in that supremely intimate dialogue with the Father -- not always or necessarily recognized as Father -- in the depths of our humanity, that we, each and every one of us, shape and ultimately determine our earthly life and eternal destiny.   And that is why, People of God, for us who are Christians, and above all for us who are Catholics, it is absolutely essential that we should attend, indeed give our most loving attention, to our personal dialogue with the Father in our minds and hearts if we are to give authentic witness to Him and to Jesus.  We would achieve little by faultless observance of the rules of Mother Church, reception of all the Sacraments, unfailing presence at Mass and continuous reading of the Scriptures, if we had no communion with the Father in such moments of intimate worship and silent confession in the depths of our being.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit have been given us by the Father to lead us to that fullness of our being expressed in Mother Church’s words contained in the third canon of Mass; let us therefore humbly repeat her prayer and make it our own:
Merciful Father, gather to Yourself all Your children scattered throughout the world, and, at their passing from this life, give kind admittance to Your kingdom.  There we hope to enjoy for ever the fullness of Your glory through Christ Our Lord, through Whom You bestow on the world all that is good.  Amen.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

3rd Sunday of Easter (Year B)


(Acts of the Apostles 3:13-15, 17-19; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48)

The two disciples whom Jesus had encountered as they were walking towards Emmaus -- though their hearts had been burning within them as He spoke with them and opened the Scriptures to them – had only recognized Him at the breaking of bread in the course of a meal which they had invited Him to share with them.  And then He had suddenly disappeared -- vanished from their sight – we are told; whereupon they themselves set off back to Jerusalem without delay to inform the apostles. 
Notice, however, that when Jesus suddenly appeared again to those same disciples, now secretly gathered, in Jerusalem, together with the Eleven and other unnamed followers of His:
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, He asked them, ‘Have you anything to eat?’  They gave Him a piece of fish, (which) he took and ate in front of them.
This time Jesus did not confirm His identity by sharing bread and wine with the assembled group, He simply confirmed that He was no ghost by eating some fish before them.  Why did He not break bread with them as He had done before?
Now, it is true that unlike the two disciples alone on the way to Emmaus, the group assembled with the Eleven in Jerusalem, would seem to have recognized Jesus immediately, although they could not believe, as it was said, ‘for joy’.  Nevertheless, there is a more fundamental reason for Jesus’ behaviour in that private room in Jerusalem which is closely connected with our other readings today.  For, in the Gospel reading Jesus took care to explain to His disciples the nature of His presence with them; He was not, He explained, with them as He had been previously:
He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you WHILE I WAS STILL WITH YOU.”
In other words He was saying, “I am here with you now, but not as I was with you when I spoke those words to you a short while ago.”  His new presence was different from His earlier presence: previously He had been with them as any man is with His fellow men; now however, having died on Calvary and risen in glory on the third day, He was no longer with them in that ordinary, worldly, way.
So, let us now note just how different was this, His new presence in their midst, before going on to learn in what other ways He would subsequently make Himself present to all His future disciples.
First, walking along with those two disciples going towards Emmaus, He had taken great care to explain His presence in and through the Scriptures:
“Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and Psalms must be fulfilled."  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
That original presence in the Scriptures might be called Jesus’ first mode of spiritual presence to the Church beginning, as it did, with the Law of Moses, then followed by the Prophets, the Psalms, and all the Old Testament Scriptures, as Jesus Himself said.
His new presence had been announced in our Gospel reading when the two disciples who had been on their way to Emmaus reported to the Eleven in Jerusalem:
            How Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
That new and second mode of spiritual presence to the Church – Jesus’ Eucharistic presence -- had been prepared for by Jesus in His teaching and by His miracles during the course of His public ministry, before being formally instituted at the Last Supper with His Apostles.
In today’s Gospel reading, however, when He -- suddenly and alarmingly -- stood in the midst of the assembly consisting of the Eleven, the two Emmaus disciples, and other companions, His presence is drawn to our attention by His not celebrating or directly recalling the Eucharist!   Instead He indicates the reality, though not the physicality, of what we now recognize as His third mode of spiritual presence to us in the Church:
Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have."
This is the presence He had foretold with the words:
Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. (Matt 18:20)
Thus, we can find Jesus, experience in varying measure His presence, in the Old Testament Scriptures, in the Eucharist, and in the assembly gathered together in His name to hear, appreciate, and appropriate His Gospel.  He is not with us today as an ordinary human being as was the case formerly with His disciples in Palestine; but He is always truly present for us, and to be found by us, in the Scriptures; always spiritually present to, and in communion with, all those assembled together to proclaim His Name and promote His Gospel; and supremely, always Personally – in the physical reality of His own glorious and most precious Body and Blood – with us and for us in His Eucharistic presence.
As Peter explained to those who had witnessed his cure of the lame man:
By faith in His name, this man -- whom you see and know -- His name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you.  (Acts 3:16)
Living by ‘faith in His name’ is the supremely authentic way of both responding with personal intimacy to the presence of Jesus and bearing public witness to Him, as St. John told us in his letter for our second reading:
Whoever keeps His word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. By this            we know that we are in Him.
The way that we may be sure that we know Him is to keep His commandments.
By signalling the various modes of His presence to and for His believers Jesus was preparing His Church for her great world-wide mission to proclaim:
            Repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name to all the nations.
Some of the earliest Christians were still very closely bound up with their Jewish brethren in the synagogue, indeed many still worshipped among them in the Temple.  However, in our Gospel reading Jesus is preparing His Church for the future, and it is essential that she and her proclamation of the Good News be recognized as distinct from and independent of her Jewish origins: for while those origins are never to be denied, neither they could ever be or even appear to be either exclusive or definitive:
Repentance and forgiveness of sins are to be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.
Henceforth for all disciples of Jesus, the Torah must yield to the Gospel, the Good News; the Church would replace the Temple as the house where God is pleased to dwell: to receive worship and praise for His unique glory; to be loved and adored for His own sublime beauty and truth; to be most trustfully invoked and whole-heartedly thanked for His unfathomable goodness and enduring faithfulness.  Above all, however, God Himself would no longer be simply worshipped as the Lord of Creation, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Who formed Israel and subsequently rescued her from slavery in Egypt and exile in Babylon; but recognized supremely and uniquely as the One God and Father Who gave His own and only true Son to share human flesh with and for human-kind, and Who, by the rising of Jesus Christ -- His Son and Our Saviour -- from the bonds of our death, has prepared a new creation: a family of adopted children living by and sharing in the power and the glory of His Only-Begotten, and, in His Name, being led ever heavenwards -- though through many trials and tribulations – along the path which He Himself did tread, into the eternal Father’s presence, by His Holy Spirit.  
He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."    And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." (Rev 21:5)
And now, we can recognize and admire, indeed love, another mystery – God’s mysteries are always astoundingly beautiful, wondrously fulfilling, endlessly and intriguingly mysterious -- which is Our Blessed Lady’s membership of the original  Church, for that presence can surely be seen as a presence of Jesus to His Church, for who could look at Mary and listen to her without thinking of Jesus!!   It was a presence of the Lord unique in character, both human and mystical, a presence specially given for the Church’s sufferings at birth. 
After the joy (indescribable!) of her dear Son’s Resurrection; after the happiness she had known (for Him) at His Ascension, what else remained for Mary on earth?  How could she possibly look forward to anything ahead of her here below … her Love, her Lord, her Son had gone … she rejoiced for Him and indeed for all His disciples … but for herself?   Why had she not been allowed to follow her Son, why did He not call her to Himself in His Ascension?   What would she find, what could she do, in the Body of Christ, His Church; what might she derive from her experience there?  Happily, she had long ago learnt to die to herself, and so, if any such thoughts as these entered her mind she would most certainly never have entertained or developed them; but she could never forget her Son’s dying words to her:
            Woman, behold your son!
There are but two facts of which we know that can illuminate this mysterious part of Mary’s life on earth after her Son’s Resurrection: first of all, from the Church’s viewpoint, she was needed to be a mother, the mother, for all the children Jesus, from His Cross on Calvary, had committed to her loving care.  How? She did not know; she would await, pray for, listen to, and obey the Holy Spirit Jesus was bestowing on His Church.  Secondly, from Mary’s point of view and to our great delight, her subsequent experience of the Spirit and her work with and for her children in the Church was such as to prepare her finally to follow her blessed Son.  At the Father’s behest and in the power of His Spirit, she would follow her beloved Son from His Church; and thanks to her experience in His Church, she would now be fully able and prepared to embrace and respond to her ultimate destiny and calling, as Queen of heaven, leaving behind her such a blessed memory among her children on earth, that the Church Jesus had founded and endowed would henceforth be called Mother Church by her devoted children.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Sunday Sermon 2012

Easter Sunday 
  (Acts 10:34, 37-43; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9)

God raised (Jesus) on the third day, and granted that He be visible to us.
Those words of St. Peter are the culmination of an age-long awareness and expectation in Israel, where the third day was of special significance for Jewish piety.  In the book of Genesis we are told that Abraham, in obedience to the voice of God, was taking his only son Isaac to offer him in sacrifice to the Lord on a mount the Lord would make known to them.  Sorrowing father and innocent, unknowing son, were journeying on along with some servants, when (Gen 22:4-5):
On the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."         
On that third day Abraham had seen Mount Moriah where he believed his son had to be sacrificed to the Lord; in the event, however, it turned out to be the mount where the son was not only restored unharmed to his father, but restored as the sign of God’s enduring promise of blessing for Abraham and God’s chosen people:
Because you have not withheld your only son – blessing I will bless you and multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. (Gen. 22:16-17)
Again, in the prophecy of Hosea (6:1-3) there is a message of consolation for sinful, suffering, Israel:
Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.   After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.   Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.  His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.
You can understand what comfort and joy the disciples experienced on recalling such texts after having found the empty tomb and seen the Risen Lord:  Jesus -- the ultimate bearer of God’s promise -- whom they had Personally known and loved, had risen from the dead on the third day, had been restored to life in God’s presence; death had been unable to hold Him!  That is why Peter (Acts 10:39-42) could so confidently proclaim to Cornelius and his family whom, under the command of the Holy Spirit, he was about to baptise:
We are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.  Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.  And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 
Let us now address today’s reading from St. Paul and allow him to guide our thoughts:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.  
For Paul extends this wondrous event of Jesus’ rising from the dead to include us:
For you have died (with Christ), and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 
How can he say that we died with Christ if not because Christ died as Lord and Saviour for all mankind, and as Head of the Church which is His Body?  Though sinless, He died a sinner’s death on our behalf; and when He died on Good Friday all our hopes seemed to have died with Him, leaving us -- on Holy Saturday -- to experience only the emptiness, the helplessness, and indeed the hopelessness of our native, sinful, condition. But now, Peter and Paul, together with all the apostles, bear witness that God has raised Jesus from the dead; and, since He is risen, Paul says: you -- you who believe in Him and in the God Who raised Him -- you too are risen with Him, sharing in His new, Risen Life.  Because of your faith in Him, the Risen Lord, you are no longer subject to the frustrations and ultimate horror of earthly death, no longer bound by sin in your native pride and self-solicitude (1 Corinthians 15:55-58):
“O Death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory?"  The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.          
Indeed, Paul says that we too are seated with Christ at the right hand of God!  We do, indeed, firmly believe that Jesus -- the Holy One of God -- is seated at the right hand of the Father, and we also believe that He continually intercedes for us; but how are we seated with Him at the right hand of the Father?
The answer is that we are not, of course, physically seated with Him now in heaven; nevertheless, that is where the vital powers of our spiritual life originate and whither they are leading us.  Jesus, in His glorious humanity, is at the right  hand of the Father in heaven; but He is also, in a sacramental manner, physically with us in the Eucharist, whereby He draws us up, into, Himself through the Spirit.  Our heavenly food -- the driving force of supernatural life within us -- is the living Body of the One seated at the right hand of the Father in glory; and the more we live by that food, the more we live by His Spirit, the more He draws us closer and binds us more intimately to Himself.  For the sake of all mankind He has taken our humanity into glory and none are barred from sharing His glory because of their humanity.
But we have much surer basis for hope than the mere fact that our human nature is no longer barred from heaven: for each of us has been called -- the Father Himself has called us -- personally and individually, as Jesus said:
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.  (John 6:44)
And so, being called by the Father to Jesus, we believe, and having been baptised into Jesus we are justified, by the Gift of the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul tells us:
Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  (Rom 8:30-31)
Today Jesus is risen and we are glorified in Him: for we who receive the Body and Blood of the Risen Lord in true faith are now assured that we are under the guiding tutelage of the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit of God, Who is leading us  towards heaven, both our present destiny and our future home; because our food of life -- the Eucharist -- is, sacramentally, the very same Body which is Jesus’ in heaven; and His Spirit, bestowed on us through the Eucharist, is at work forming us in Jesus’ likeness so that we might be able to share -- as living members -- in the eternal glory of His heavenly Body before the Father: 
For your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.
The Father has received back His Beloved Son; Who, living now before the Father as Son of Man also, is the custodian of an eternal promise, that where He is, we -- who through faith and baptism are members of His mystical Body -- shall be:
Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
Such is, indeed, the Lord Jesus’ prayer today in our regard: what hope of glory and promise of fulfilment it holds out for us in the future!  Indeed, what joy and peace it can bring us now, if, praying in union with Jesus, we live in a way that witnesses to the sincerity of our prayer!
Consequently, we who entertain such hopes cannot, surely, allow ourselves to live a life of obsessive worldliness -- constantly searching for our needs and striving after our wishes -- whilst largely forgetting our heavenly calling and its future fulfilment.  Even Jesus’ prayer that we “may be with Him where He is” can only bear effect in the lives of those who are open to and in tune with such a prayer; that is, in the lives of those who seek communication and communion with Him more seriously and more lovingly than they search for earthly possessions and social acceptability.  We must never forget St. Paul’s admonition in today’s readings:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
However, let us appreciate and follow such advice in the spirit of today’s wonderful celebration, taking very much to heart the words of the prophet Nehemiah (8:10):
Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  

Friday, 6 April 2012

Easter Vigil Mass (Year B)

(Romans 6:3-11; Mark 16:1-7)

Mark tells us that three women followers of Jesus came to anoint His body in the tomb, and, to their great surprise and joy, found that the exceptionally large stone used to block the entrance to the tomb had been rolled aside; so:
            Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing      a white robe; and they were amazed.
We too have reason to be surprised, if not amazed, at the fact that this young man sitting at the right and wearing a white robe is not named.  He was obviously an angel, and that is the surprising thing, because Pope St. Gregory writing about the Angels and Archangels tells us that:
“Angels are only sent when something is announced through them.  Those who make minor announcements are called angels, those who make important ones are called archangels.  Hence it is that not just any angel was sent to the Virgin Mary (at the Annunciation) but that Gabriel the archangel was sent: it was right that the proper one for this role should be of the highest rank of angels since he was to announce the greatest news of all … When angels come to minister to us, even the names by which we know them are taken from their ministry -- Michael means ‘Who is like God’, Gabriel ‘Strength of God’, Raphael ‘Healing of God’.”
Isn’t it strange then that we are told nothing about this ‘young man in white sitting at the right’ in the tomb; one who was there, had been sent, to announce the very greatest news of all -- pace St. Gregory -- which is the news of the Lord’s Resurrection?  There he is, in the tomb, not a glorious, named, archangel, but simply, a young man dressed in white!!
In that way all our attention is directed to the message he has been sent to deliver; and yet, all that he says about the Resurrection is:
            He has risen; He is not here.
The women could see that the Lord was not there, so really all the young man says about Our Lord’s Resurrection is, “He has risen.”   What, indeed, was the young man there for?  You might say, “perhaps he was there to roll away the stone.”  Very well, but, having done that job, why did he remain?  Just to say: “He is risen”?  Yes; that was, indeed, the main reason for his coming and remaining, because those three words both state a supremely important fact and contain a most important teaching.
First of all, the simple fact is so very important for the disciples because otherwise they might well have thought, as did Mary Magdalen, that the body of Jesus had been taken away by some unknown persons: after all, there were many important people who wanted His name to be totally forgotten.  Had the young man not been there to declare Him risen, the disciples would, it is true, most probably have eventually recalled that Jesus had spoken of rising of the third day, but, due to our human weakness, they could not have had any certainty about whether or not that had actually taken place without their seeing and touching Him.  And this is why the teaching is revealed dear People of God: Jesus did not want to see his disciples hesitant and unsure, fearful and doubtful, for He hates the anxious worrying and the corrosive hesitancy that easily prevents men and women from embracing hope and committing themselves in trust.  Such worry and hesitancy is the tap root, so to speak, of humankind’s sinful self-love; it is, spiritually, a mortal threat for a disciple of Jesus, for a child of God.  That is why the young man in white straightway states the fact simply, clearly, and surely: “He is risen”.
Moreover, the young man’s words, reported back to the disciples, would give them a necessary jump-start, so to speak, moving them to hope again; it would encourage them to look forward to seeing their Risen Lord.  He therefore went on to speak more expansively about that future meeting with the Risen Lord:
            Go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee;            there you will see Him, just as He told you.'
How remarkable!  There is no mention of the Crucifixion of only two days ago; the Resurrection itself has been allotted but a very few words, and the angel goes on to speak mainly about the future meeting saying: “the arrangement He made with Peter and the disciples still stands; nothing has happened to change that planned meeting.  He is already going ahead to Galilee.”
And that was what Jesus wanted: His disciples had to begin living again, depression and worry had to be replaced by hope; and all uncertainty and anxiety had to be totally dispelled even before that promised meeting restored and renewed their commitment to Him.  See how self-effacing is Jesus’ love, you might say how careless He is in respect to His own glory!!  The angel’s message was phrased first and foremost for the well-being of His disciples, only secondly for Jesus’ glory.
And so, on this vigil, nothing is said of how things happened or where Jesus had gone.  How did He look: glorious, heavenly, majestic, awesome?  Wouldn’t we love to take away with us tonight a picture, some understanding, of that glorious, never before heard of, event that would give us a spiritual infusion of heavenly zeal and joy?  But nothing of the sort!
Now we know, God is wiser than we are: He is infinitely good, and knows all our real needs; so let us look again, yet more closely, at what is being offered us this holy night.  In our relationship with God, we have, first of all, to appreciate Who we are dealing with, what sort of Person, so to speak, He is.  The angel’s message, as I said, ignored the Crucifixion, skipped over the Resurrection, and concentrated on a future meeting of the Lord and His disciple.  It would seem as if that meeting was of such importance, that nothing, not even a horror such as the Crucifixion, could possibly, in any way, have prevented it taking place; and that nothing so gloriously transcendent as even the Resurrection can be allowed to push it aside into forgetfulness or oblivion!  The angel’s message is, therefore, about God’s Providence and Power: surely you did not think that the Crucifixion could prevent the meeting:  God’s Providence and Power is total and unassailable; it is also about the Lord’s Love and Faithfulness: never fear that the Lord in His Risen Glory could ever forget you and His meeting with you.  His Love and Faithfulness are constant and unfailing!  Surely you can’t fear He might have more important things than you on His mind?’  People of God, these are fundamental truths about Jesus, about the God we worship and serve: first of all, He is the omnipotent Lord of both heaven and earth, Satan can do nothing that will prevent the coming of God’s Kingdom; and secondly, His Personal love and faithfulness is more tender and tenacious than the human mind can imagine, nothing can separate us from His watchful care.
We are next privileged to catch a further glimpse of the Risen Lord’s love in the angel’s last words to the three women:
Go tell His disciples and Peter!
The disciples, as you will remember, had fled and left the Lord; that was bad enough; but Peter had three times publicly denied His Lord.  Since then he would have been breaking his heart with grief and his soul with regret at the recollection of what he had done.  These few words of the angel show the tender, personal, love of the glorious Risen Lord; they assure us that the Risen Jesus has indeed a gloriously human sensitivity in our regard.  He was well aware of the turmoil in the mind and heart of Peter, and He wanted Peter to be assured that he was in no way to be excluded or cut off.  Therefore the angel had to refer to him by the very name Jesus Himself had first given him (‘Go to the disciples and Peter’), insisting that he be present at the meeting in Galilee as planned.  People of God, note well: our God and Saviour is Almighty and -- in the same Breath of the Spirit so to speak -- most lovingly Personal.
Finally, however, for an authentic relationship with God, we must know not only Who we are relating to, but we must also be aware of how we are to relate to Him: for in our life with God we must have total trust and confidence in God and in the Faith we have been given, the Faith that enables us to appreciate and contact Him.  God’s power and the Lord Jesus’ love will never fail us no matter what the appearances may be!  Therefore, we have to develop within ourselves -- for that is where the weakness lies -- our confidence, above all, in God Himself, but also in the blessing of the Catholic Faith which has been bestowed upon us and handed down to us:
The young man said to them, ‘Do not be amazed; Go, tell His disciples and Peter, "He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.'"
Very often, People of God, men and women want to wonder at some apparently marvellous happening -- whether or not it is so marvellous does not really matter -- because they have no sure rock on which to rest within themselves.  They glory in the wonder and for a time they feel confident, think they have faith; but then, as the human chemistry within them, or as the outside circumstances around them, gradually change, they are not quite so sure, and they begin to feel the need of another wonder to give them another boost.  Now we must not treat the Lord’s Resurrection in such a way.
To that end, the anonymous young man who this evening said hardly anything about the Resurrection itself, as we have noted, actually said almost everything about the Faith God wants us to have:
            Do not be amazed.  He is going ahead of you.  You will see Him just as          He told you.
This Easter morning we should leave here with renewed trust and confidence in, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude to, God the Father, Who has invited us this day to a deeper appreciation of the mystery of His Son, our Risen Lord, ever abiding with us, and by His Spirit in us, in Mother Church.    Moreover, we should seek to make this blessing of deeper love for, and appreciation of, Jesus, this blessing of renewed confidence in our Catholic Faith handed down to us over twenty centuries by Mother Church, a permanent feature of our Catholic character. And towards that end, we should constantly seek to strengthen it within us by making acts and aspirations of confidence and trust, in the same way as we make the more customary acts and aspirations of love:  Just as ‘My God, Lord Jesus, I love You’ should always be at home on our lips if we want to grow in such love, so also exclamations of trust, prayers for hope, outbursts of gratitude such as, ‘My God I trust you, I hope in You’, or ‘Thank you Father, Lord, for the gift of the Faith and for Mother Church’ should always be hovering around in our mind and heart.  That is the sort of fruit the Father wants from our Easter celebration.  Therefore, as we leave here wishing each other a Happy Easter, let us all resolve to give Easter joy to the Father Himself by striving to bring forth the fruit that He expects from those who wish to become true disciples of His beloved Son.  A Happy and a Holy Easter to all here present.