April 4, 2021 - Pastor Message04/20/2021
“For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live may no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer. So whoever is in Christ is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).
We all love new things new cars, new clothes, new gadgets. Easter is all about new things, or, perhaps more accurately, one new thing, but it is the greatest new thing that ever happened: Jesus rose from the dead to new life. Jesus had already raised other people from the dead, like Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter, but they did not receive a new life. They rose to the life they had before they had died, and they would eventually die again. These temporary resurrections were merely signs, a foretaste of the new resurrection that Christ came to accomplish to a whole new life that has no end.
We see this in his resurrection appearances to his disciples. A recurring theme in these stories is that the disciples do not recognize the risen Jesus at first. He is still Jesus, but in a completely new way, a way that can only be seen by the gift of faith. That is the purpose of his appearances to his disciples, seen most clearly in his appearance to “doubting” Thomas to give them the gift of faith and commission them to go out and share that gift with the world. This is the faith that saves because through it we are not only able to see the risen Christ but to share in his new life. If the past year has accomplished anything good, it has stirred up our hunger for new life, so easily forgotten among the busyness and pleasures of this world. The dying we have all in some way experienced, whether literally through Covid19 or figuratively through the collapse of American society as we knew it, has left us feeling hopeless and abandoned, like Joseph of Arimathea must have felt after the crucifixion when he placed Jesus’ lifeless body in the tomb. But we know something that Joseph didn’t. Jesus’ story doesn’t end in death. It ends in new life, for him and for us, when we stay united to him by faith.
During our celebration of Easter, the risen Christ comes to us to renew in us the gift of faith. We can never go back to the way things were before 2020. Those things have passed away. But, by the light of faith in the risen Christ, we can go forward, out of the darkness of the tomb, to a whole new life, and by following his commission to his disciples to go out and witness this saving faith to all nations, we can raise our world up to new life. From all of us here at St. Boniface parish, have a Blessed Easter, and start living the new life of Christ.
Fr. Marc Stockton