Homily preached by Most Rev. Michael Neary at Easter 2006

Good Friday was a day of rupture and termination.  A sense of darkness and disintegration, the loss of meaning, hope, and creativity which is associated with this day.  God in the grave.  In so many ways we can identify with all of that – our experience of death, illness, fragmentation of relationships, disappointed hopes and shattered dreams.  At times we fear for the future.  The disillusionment and defeat which left the first disciples vulnerable and without hope seems to be our lot.

Yet for us Easter hope shines not only forward towards the future which is opening up, but also backwards over the graveyards of history.  Easter does not cancel the cross, or cause us to forget the grave.

Without the death and resurrection of Christ we can ask the question: Would there truly be forgiveness for the guilty, healing and hope for the broken, a home for the rejected, and a coming day of laughter for a world of tears?  God himself had wept the tears of fear and loneliness and was identified with God forsakenness on the cross.

Our Easter faith underlines for us the fact that we need not be discouraged by our faults and frailties and our experiences of defeat and dislocation. Easter launches all of us on an adventure of hope.  This is the only time we have in our hands.  The past is already gone and we do not where the future may lead us.  I have to take advantage of the occasions that present themselves everyday.  I have to accomplish ordinary actions in an extraordinary way.  We belong to a Church that welcomes, lives, shares and announces the Gospel of hope.  God’s future had come rushing in to the middle of history, the middle of the world’s pain, of broken promises and shattered dreams.    If we are to believe in his resurrection in a way that really matters we must see Him for ourselves.  And where people have believed in His resurrection, it is because in some sense they have seen Him.  It is not His absence from the empty tomb that convinces us but the shadow at least of His presence in our empty lives.

Today we see Him in the sacrifices which parents make for their children, in the way in which people attend to and care for the sick, in the way in which people go out of their way to involve and include the marginalised in our world.  We see it in the tenderness with which people care for aging parents.  We see it in the way in which religious and priests carry out their ministry of service for others.  If one might ring the changes on what St. Paul says speaking of the Resurrection if Christ were not risen, then where would you be this night/morning?  What place would there be in your life for hope and for a new future.

Resurrection is God’s response to the Cross.   God had the last word.  The good news for us is that God’s affirmation is not confined to Jesus, it is extended to all of us who follow Christ.  In the meantime, we struggle to let some of His glory shine through our faltering efforts to follow Him.

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