Message: I invite you to join me - to learn from Jesus what it means to become a disciple and disciple maker.
Happy Easter! My name is Fr. Phillip Bloom. This is my sixth Easter as your pastor here at St. Mary of the Valley. God willing, we will have many more together.
For my Easter homily I begin with a sobering interview. A journalist decided to track down survivors of suicide attempts on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. He asked them what was going in their minds during the 4 seconds of that fall. All of them responded that they regretted the decision to jump, one saying "I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable, except for having just jumped."
That man, Kenneth Baldwin, is still alive - 30 years after the suicide attempt. He has raised a family and teaches high school students. What good words for all of us, but especially young people: "Everything I thought was unfixable is totally fixable."
Kenneth Baldwin's words also describe the first Easter morning. It began in desolation, even despair. The disciples had followed Jesus for several years. They listened to his powerful teaching. They saw his amazing works. Now it all fell apart.
And the disciples carried a burden of guilt. They had ran away. They abandoned the man who had done everything for them. One had the courage to go back and stand with Jesus. But two of them - Peter and Judas - had betrayed Jesus with acts of cowardice and greed. Of those two, one committed suicide.
So, Easter morning started in darkness, desolation and guilt. Now, we might think the resurrection instantly changed all that - and in one sense it did. The things unfixable became totally fixable. But that did not happen in an instant. It began a process that continued 50 days until Pentecost - and beyond. They once thought they knew what it meant to be a disciple. Now they were really doing to learn.
That's the invitation I give you this Easter: To join me in learning what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus.
At the beginning of Lent many St. Mary of the Valley parishioners took a survey called "Disciple Makers Index." The survey will help us become a parish of disciples and disciple makers. We will get the survey results during the Easter season.
The survey responds to an urgent need. We need disciple makers - people who are willing to share their faith, to talk with others about what God, Jesus and the sacraments mean to them, to invite others to come to the parish. Only a small percentage of Catholics are disciple makers. We want to change that. In the coming weeks I will explore with you what it means to become an intentional disciple.
I'm not so good at it myself. All of us live surrounded by what Thoreau called "quiet desperation." You see signs of that desperation in the increase in drugs, pornography and gambling, but despair takes makes forms.
Ultimately only one can give lasting hope in the face of despair - the one St. Peter describes today: The man who "went around doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil." The man put to death "on a tree." The man whose cross becomes the tree of life. The man who takes our desolation and guilt. Because of Jesus those things that seem unfixable are totally fixable.
I know many people have become disillusioned. Young people sometimes tell me that they are losing their faith. I do understand. To maintain one's faith with today's culture is like standing in a rainstorm and trying to keep a candle burning. It takes determination and even some outside help. And we do have outside help - especially the sacraments. For example, this Friday we have confessions from 7 to 9 pm. And on Saturdays, confessions from 4:00 to 4:45.
Some here feel a great joy. Praise God! Others perhaps feel disillusioned. Also, praise God! You are like the disciples on that first Easter morning. Come back next weekend. I do not have all the answers, but I can guarantee this: everything that seems unfixable is totally fixable - not because of human cleverness, but because Jesus has risen.
On the cross he conquered sin - human malice - death and the devil. In a few moments you will have the opportunity to renounce the devil and all his empty promises. And to renew your faith in God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - then I will bless you with holy water as a renewal of baptism.
This is only the beginning. I invite you to join me - to learn from Jesus what it means to become a disciple and disciple maker. Amen.
Homilies for Triduum 2015:
From Archives (Easter Sunday Homilies):
Easter Vigil Homily 1998: "At the entrance was something like a small swimming pool with three steps leading down one side and three steps leading up the other. At the Easter vigil they were led into the pool. The priest asked..."
The Meaning of the Resurrection: "Forgiveness is the one new thing that has entered the world. Without forgiveness human history is bleak. Frederick Nietzsche the philosopher who stated 'God is dead,' thought the driving force of history is resentment..."
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (based on daily Mass readings)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (Current St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
2015 Peru Mission Trip
Blessing the New Home of Felipe & Maria
with gratitude to Mary Bloom Center donors