Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily


Gospel                                 John 20:1-9

On the first day of the week,

Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,

while it was still dark,

and saw the stone removed from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter

and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,

“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,

and we don’t know where they put him.”

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.

They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter

and arrived at the tomb first;

he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.

When Simon Peter arrived after him,

he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,

and the cloth that had covered his head,

not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.

Then the other disciple also went in,

the one who had arrived at the tomb first,

and he saw and believed.

For they did not yet understand the Scripture

that he had to rise from the dead.




“This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us be glad and rejoice in it.”


Are we happy?  Are we glad?  Are we rejoicing?  But why are we rejoicing and why are we glad?


We come here every Sunday to praise God, to worship him, and to thank God for all that he has done for us.  We come here today, hopefully asking for the wisdom to appreciate and realize what he really did for us when he died on the cross and rose today.


To understand this we need to understand first who God is.  God, by definition, is love.  And we, by definition, were made to know him, to love him, and to serve him.  Which means if we want to be fulfilled, he needs to be a part of who we are.


Now God so loved us that he created our universe and he created man.  He created Adam and Eve and he put them in a paradise which was so wonderful that we cannot even imagine what it was like.  There was no sin, there was no death, and there was no sorrow.

There was only happiness.  But you know God so loved us that he gave us free will.  So we do not have to choose him.  As we know, Adam and Eve committed the sin of pride.  And because of that we were separated from God, which means that sin was now brought into the world and death was now brought into the world, and God was not pleased.


God loves us.  He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be whole.  So what did God do?  He decided to send his only son into the world to show us how to live and to suffer and die for us to make things right.  So during the Triduum — Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Saturday, and Easter Sunday — we celebrate that victory that Jesus gave us.


On Holy Thursday, like any good father who is ready to leave the earth, Jesus was making sure that things are right.  Throughout Jesus’s life he was always wanting to make things right.  He always wanted to make people whole.  If he knew someone was sick he cured that person.  If someone was possessed, he took away the demons.  It didn’t make any difference who you were or when it was, he did what was right because he loved us.  That’s the way he was.


On Holy Thursday he  took the disciples and went into the Upper Room to celebrate Passover.  But before they ate that meal he said to the disciples,  “Take off your sandals.”  He then, one by one, washed their feet, which is the lowliest thing a person can do, and the most humble thing a person can do.


When he was finished he looked at them and said,  “If I’m your Master and Teacher and I can wash your feet, then it’s up to you to wash everyone else’s feet.”  Which means that we are to serve one another, to help one another, and to make Christ present in the world when he is gone.


He then instituted the Eucharist so we can receive his real body and blood every time we come to Mass. When we come to Mass on Sunday not only can we praise him, but we can receive him and are ready for the rest of the week so we can live out the week serving others like we need to do.


Then on Good Friday he suffered and died on that cross.  He died on that cross totally out of love for us so that sin could be taken away, so that death could be taken away, so that we could be made whole. 


Today we celebrate Easter Sunday. If we had Holy Thursday, and Good Friday and we had no resurrection, we really wouldn’t have much except a holy man who did a lot of really good things.  So when the women went to the tomb and found it empty they were concerned.  Did somebody steal him, or was he raised from the dead?


As we know from the different accounts of the Scripture the angel was there and the angel said, “If you are looking for Jesus the crucified, he has been raised from the dead.”

Then later on Jesus appears to the disciples and they know he is alive.


Now we have the total picture.  We have the picture that this Jesus who came into this world, wasn’t just a man but truly was, and is, the Son of God.  And because of that we now have life forever.  We have life for eternity. 


This crucifix, which could have been just a horrible thing, now shows us victory.  Two thousand years ago if we would show a crucifix to someone they would say, “Oh, no.”   When we look at this crucifix we don’t say,  “Oh, no.”  We say,  “Thank you.”


There is a story about a little boy standing in the middle of the block on the curb.  This older man came with his dog, and the man asked the boy,  “What are you doing?”


The little boy answered,  “I am waiting for the bus.”


The man said,  “Well, if you are waiting for the bus, you need to go to the corner because the bus stops at the corner.  It doesn’t stop in between.”


The little boy didn’t say anything.  So the man tried to be as helpful as he could and continued to tell the little boy what to do.  Finally the little boy said,  “It’s OK.  The bus is going to stop here and pick me up.”


Well, the man didn’t believe that so he decided to stick around.  So sure enough here comes the bus, and to his surprise, the bus stopped in front of the boy, and the boy got on the bus.  Then the boy turned around and looked at the man,  “I told you the bus would pick me up here.  You know, the bus driver is my dad.”


In that story, we are the little boy.  God is the bus driver.  And that bus driver will pick us up anywhere.  He’ll pick us up in the middle of the block, he’ll pick us up on the corner, he’ll pick us up in the alley.  He’ll pick us up if it’s raining, if it’s light, or if it’s dark. 


We come here to celebrate today Christ’s victory for us.  We are now an Easter people.

It is because of us being baptized in that water that we now can rise with him.


Sometimes we really don’t believe as much as we need to until we have an experience of death — the death of a loved one or the loss of something important.  It’s then that we realize how important our faith really is because we know that this person we loved and cared about just isn’t anywhere, but because of Christ’s death and resurrection is now in heaven so that we can be with that person some day.


So today we come as an Easter people.  We come as a hopeful people.  We come as a people knowing we have a God who loves us, who wants to be with us, and is always asking us to be at our side.


So yes, this is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice, and let us be glad.


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Terry Ellerman is a retired educator and serves as a deacon at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Quincy, Illinois.

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