3rd Sunday of Easter (Lk 24:35-48) “The Resurrected Eucharist” PDF Version
Homily for the 3rdSunday of Easter, Year B (2018): Lk 24:35-48
When she was but 9 years old, St Teresa of Avila in Spain ran away from home. After she was found and scolded by her uncle and brought back to her father to explain her disappearance, she informed her family that she was hoping to find passage into North Africa so she could preach the Gospel and if it should come to pass to die as a glorious martyr! Such zeal for one so young, a zeal that would not diminish once St Teresa became a great reformer of the Carmelite Order of nuns and is now ranked among the Doctors of the Church for her mystical writings and life of holiness.
She was also blessed with having visions and encounters with the Resurrected Lord. It would result in her levitating off the floor while enraptured in prayer and on one occasion having the experience of an otherworldly arrow piercing her heart with the intimacy of Divine Love that she thought she would die in ecstasy.
As word of her mystical experiences spread throughout Spain and abroad, visitors to her convent would remark how easy it must be for St Teresa to believe in Christ, she had seen the Risen One with her own eyes, she had seen His wounds, she had seen His Resurrected Body, and so she must have much greater certainty than most that Jesus really did exist and indeed rose from the dead!
In response to her admirers, St Teresa was said to have looked rather perplexed at them and wondered why they did not feel the same certainty and joy that Jesus had risen from the dead and would never die again during each and every time they received Christ in the Holy Eucharist. She said that His presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament was far greater than any of her visions; for to encounter Him like the disciples on the road to Emmaus in the breaking of the bread was to encounter, with greater joy and certainty, the Resurrected Body of Jesus Christ.
We hear today that the 11 remaining Apostles, despite seeing the Risen Christ with their own eyes after He suddenly appeared out of nowhere to be in their midst, showing them the wounds of His Passion and consuming food in their presence, just had they watched him eat countless time during their missionary endeavours, that they still struggled to believe! He was right in front of them, they could see Him, hear His voice, even reach out a touch Him, and still they were not certain it was Him, or rather, they thought maybe it was His spirit, but to believe that His body had really risen, that was something they wanted to accept, but found so very hard to believe.
It should come as a comfort to us that if we too struggle to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, that the Apostles experienced the same doubts when they saw Him again after the terror of Good Friday. But we also know that they did not allow those initial doubts to linger in their hearts and lead them to think that belief in the Resurrection was somehow an option for them. No, after Jesus revealed to them all that the Bible had foretold concerning His Resurrection, they knew they had to believe, even in moments of unbelief, that Jesus really did rise and that His Resurrection has changed everything!
It is also consoling to know that Jesus had provided them, and continues to provide us, with an ongoing means to encounter His resurrected Body again and again and again. This is what St Teresa tried to explain to people more than 400 years ago! You do not need to see the Risen Christ with your eyes to know that the Resurrection took place. He gave us the Eucharist to show us that He rose and that to eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood is to allow that Risen Body of the Lord to enter within us and help us to believe that Yes Lord it is really you, you are alive, and our faith is not in vain!
As a cradle Catholic and priest of 7 years, I know with great certainty that it is within the Eucharist that I have come to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and invites me and everyone who partakes of His Body and Blood to continue to believe in Him and be strengthened in those moments when He feel far away and when God’s plans and ways are hard to understand and accept.
It is with great joy that I will begin my time with each of you as your new pastor by sharing in the Risen Body of Jesus Christ that will soon be upon our holy altar.
I ask Our Lord that the Eucharist will always be at the centre of our parish family and that His Body and Blood will give us the faith to believe in His ways when the darkness of doubt creeps in.
I petition Our Lord that the Eucharist will helps us to continually grow in charity towards Him and one another and encouraging us to not be afraid in bringing Christ into our homes, places of work and all facets of human life.
And I especially ask Our Lord that every time we receive Him, whether during Holy Communion in this school gym and eventually adoring Him in the quiet peace of the new shrine church that we eagerly await to see shining in the midst of a swift sunrise and kept safe in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, that the Eucharist will always fill us with joy and help us to believe that yes Lord, you have risen from the dead, and will remain with us forevermore.