Easter Sunday homily 2018
Again, welcome to this blog site! This is for those who feel lost in their relationship with the Lord and their Catholic faith. We are here to help you as others have helped us when we were among the lost sheep. They rejoiced when we were found, and we hope to rejoice when you are, too.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep. (Luke 15:1-7)
1 The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him,
2 but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So to them he addressed this parable.
4 “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?
5 And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
6 and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
7 I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.
On behalf of our entire staff at Assumption, I wish you and your family a blessed Easter! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Parish Launches Street Evangelization
Recently, we embarked on our maiden voyage into the waters of street evangelization. It was an exciting and fruitful two hours that we spent at Congress Heights metro station, talking with people about faith and distributing materials like rosaries and miraculous medals. We personally invited over fifty people to our church especially for Holy Week liturgies. It was all good!
Well, maybe not all good. One man told me he was a Methodist, but didn’t celebrate Easter because he didn’t believe in the Resurrection. He stated that “thousands of people saw Jesus die but only three saw him rise. That should tell you something.” I tried to tell him that that number rose to 12 and then 500 as Scripture says. It has grown to millions and billions in the past two thousand years. He gave some other reasons why he doesn’t believe, but they were given in anger and profanity. It seemed that his problem was more personal than spiritual actually.
What would you say?
Nevertheless, if you were evangelizing (sharing the Good News) with someone on the street, how would you reply if they said they didn’t believe in the Resurrection? You can give the traditional points of evidence from Scripture – empty tomb, burial cloths and garments, belief and witness of the Apostles and disciples. I told the man that the witness of the Apostles is huge. All but one of the eleven gave their lives because they believed that Jesus rose from the dead, and died as martyrs for the faith.
Tell your story
But really, the best way to evangelize is through personal experience. If I had had more time with the man, I would have talked about knowing the risen Christ, and having a relationship with him today. If we speak again, I will tell him about all of the evidence at Assumption that Christ is risen.
First and foremost, it would be the joy of our parishioners. You all believe that Christ is risen, that life triumphs over death, that we all have the hope of eternal life, and you show it! Your joy would quickly melt away any sadness or anger of his or others.
It all starts at Mass
There are so many more ways that our parish shows its faith in the Resurrection. As with everything, this starts at Mass. We kneel before the risen Christ in the Eucharist and whisper the words of St Thomas, “my Lord and my God” (btw, Mass attendance is up). Think specifically about healing Masses, though. You come forward to receive blessings for healing with the faith that Christ will bring healing to your wounds, peace to your burdens, and joy to your sadness. It’s really the faith that Christ has power over all things; if he can overcome death, he can overcome anything in your life!
One visit to the Pope Francis Outreach Center reveals the faith in the risen Christ of this parish. You firmly believe that Christ lives in the poor (cf. Mt 25), and you feed him accordingly. This and so many other aspects of your witness to the Resurrection are greatly in sync with what Pope Francis has said:
“The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death. In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death.”
May we experience the triumphs of our risen Lord and be a witness of them to others, and
May you know the peace of the risen Christ,
Fr. Greg Shaffer
3401 Martin Luther King Jr. AVE, SE
Washington, DC 20032
Fr. Greg Cell: 240-463-9960
Outreach Center: 202-561-5941
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