HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
TOPIC: THE GLORY OF THE RESURRECTION
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Lk 24:35-48
Message # 495: “The Bloody Years of the Battle”
1. The Marian Message
a) Make no mistake about it! A great battle is raging on. It is a spiritual battle that “has reached its peak” between God and Satan, between the “Woman clothed in the sun and the red dragon” (letter b). The situation at present is alarming: “Satan has set up his kingdom in the world. He is now ruling over you as a sure victor.”
b) Make no mistake about it! What is happening around the world – namely, wars, economic recession, culture of death and many others – is not according to the design of God. The Blessed Mother says: “The powers which are directing and arranging human events, according to their perverse plans, are the dark and diabolic powers of evil.” (letter c). We must be aware of how evil operates now in the world. The following are the unmistakable works of the devil:
– Atheism: “They have succeeded in bringing all humanity to live without God” (letter c). Both theoretical and practical atheism are spreading all over through errors being taught via mass media and modern means of communication and culture. People do not worship the true God. Rather, they adore the idols of “pleasure, money, pride, impurity, mastery over others and impiety.”
– Wars and violence: “Egoism has made the hearts of men hard and insensitive. Hatred has blazed up like a scorching fire. Wars have multiplied in every part of the world, and you are now living in the danger of a new terrible world war” (letter d).
– Masonry: “Satan has succeeded in entering into the Church, the new Israel of God” (letter e). “The forces of Masonry have entered into the Church, in a subtle and hidden way, and have set up their stronghold in the very place where the Vicar of my Son Jesus lives and works” (letter d). Results: errors are being taught, sin is spreading, mass apostasy or loss of faith among many Christians, compromise with the world and search for pleasure – all these have led astray bishops, priests, religious and the lay faithful.
c) Make no mistake about it! This is not the time to be complacent and to put our guards down. “You are living the bloody years of the battle, because the great trial has now arrived for all” (letter g).
d) How do we deal with the present situation? The Blessed Mother invites us to be part of the Marian Movement of Priests: “consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart; enter into the safe refuge which your heavenly Mother has prepared for you; multiply the cenacles of prayer as lightning rods which protect you from the fire of the chastisement” (letter j).
e) During these times, with the Blessed Mother with us, let us live in calm and peace: “I urge you to live without fear, but rather with great confidence and trust, these bloody years of the battle… for there will come forth the divine sun of a new era, of a humanity heretofore unknown, of grace and holiness, of love and justice, of joy and peace” (letter l).
2. Reflections on the Sunday Gospel
a) The resurrection of Jesus is the central event of the Gospel. Everything in the Gospel depended on it. Since Jesus has risen from the dead, everything that he said and did have been proven true. He, indeed, is the promised Messiah. He is the One sent by the Father. He is God in human flesh.
b) Because of this, the evangelists made sure that the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus were amply recorded and faithfully recounted. These were first-hand accounts of the witnesses of the resurrection, proving that it was a concrete and historical experience, and not just a legend or tale of a super-hero.
c) The Gospel this Sunday took off from the account of the two disciples who encountered the Risen Lord on the road to Emmaus, and in the breaking of bread. As of this point, Jesus has not yet appeared to the Eleven. What they heard were just stories of those who saw the empty tomb, of Mary Magdalene, and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. But now, while the disciples were gathered together (without Thomas), Jesus appeared to them for the first time. He stood in their midst. He made sure that he does not appear to them as a ghost. That is why he asked for food and they gave him a piece of baked fish. He ate it in front of them. The body of the Risen Lord is still a physical body, but a glorified one: it is physical but cannot anymore be limited by time and space. He is showing us precisely what will happen to our bodies after our own resurrection at the last day.
Jesus is true flesh and blood, even after the resurrection. That is what the post-resurrection appearances have clearly expressed. This must be clear in the minds of people. Nowadays, there are those who try to “spiritualize” Jesus. They prefer a “spiritual Jesus” to the flesh and blood Lord found in the New Testament. Of course to spiritualize Jesus can be attractive to many of us. It keeps him at a safe distance from us so he does not interfere in our plans and our life, but he is always there when we need him. Many would prefer a “Jesus-on-call” (“Don’t- call-me-I’ll-call- you” arrangement).
To prefer a spiritual Jesus is certainly not as bad as naturalism, which today is being embraced by many people. That is why there is the rampant spread of feng shui, yoga, transcendental meditation, and many naturalistic philosophies – everything is natural, no God involved. However, an over-spiritualized approach to Jesus misses the obvious: He desires that we touch him (Lk 24:39), that we contemplate his five wounds (v.40) and, shocking as it first sounds, that we bodily consume him (v. 35, cf. 22:19).
At first, it might seem strange that the Risen Jesus puts so much emphasis on his physicality. The reason is that he does not want us to relegate him to some distant spiritual realm. He desires not just a spiritual relationship with us, but a physical one – a spousal union. He wants to espouse us. He is the Bridegroom, and we are his Bride, the Church. He has life and dynamism, and he invites us to share that life. As St. Peter tells us, he is the “author of life” (Acts 3:17). Jesus gave us the sacraments that we might connect with him on a material as well as spiritual level. For sure Jesus is radically other in relation to creatures like us. As in today’s Gospel, it is natural to be fearful, even terrified before someone such as he. But he says not to fear, but to be at peace. He wants to take us out of the shadows of death into the fullness of his own life.
d) Resurrection is different from reincarnation and resuscitation. Reincarnation means that when a person dies, he will come back to life in another form. If he lived a virtuous life, he will be rewarded and become a prince in the next life. Conversely, if he lived a sinful life, he will be punished and become an animal or plant in the next life. As Christians, we do not subscribe to this belief.
Resuscitation simply means a return to the same life. This happens in people who were declared clinically dead, with all the vital signs gone. Then, he is revived or resuscitated. There is no new life. It is the same life, the same body, which after some time, will finally die and corrupt. This is what happened to Lazarus. Resurrection is totally different. There is a totally new life, completely different from the earthly life. As seen in the Risen Lord, it is the same physical body, complete with the marks of the nails on his hands and feet and the wound on his side caused by the spear. He can be touched physically, and he even ate fish in front of his disciples. But it is also a totally different body: a glorified body that can pass through closed doors and solid walls, and can have multi-location (can be present in different places simultaneously). It cannot be limited by time and space, and cannot anymore die. It is this body that goes up to heaven to enjoy eternal life.
This concept of the resurrection rules out the possibility of the existence of zombies. There is no such thing as decaying flesh and bones coming out of their graves. This also answers the oft-repeated question: what if the person dies at sea and his body is consumed by the fish, or what if his body is cremated and the ashes are thrown and scattered in the ocean? Such questions are irrelevant in view of the correct understanding of the concept of the resurrection as shown in what happened to Jesus.
e) “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” These are the same questions that our Lord is asking us every day. Like the disciples, we just cannot comprehend fully all the events happening in our midst. Due to our limitations, many things are beyond our understanding; everything is shrouded in mystery. But Jesus always comes to assure us: “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” Why did he invite his disciples to look at and touch his hands and his feet? It is because these bore the marks of the nails, the marks of his sufferings – these are the marks of his love. He is the God who loved us so much that he is willing to suffer and die for us. And he is with us; he will never abandon us.
So, then, why are we still troubled? Why do we still doubt? The accounts of the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection should help us erase all doubts and questions from our minds and bring peace to our troubled and frightened hearts.
f) This now leads us to the message of the Blessed Mother. She reminds us that we are now in the “bloody years of the battle.” But she said, “I urge you to live without fear, but rather with great confidence and trust.” Our Lord is the victorious Lord. He is alive, and he is almighty, having conquered sin and death by his resurrection. And he is with us to lead us to final victory and glory. What happened to him will also happen to us – we will also emerge victorious in the end. There is nothing to fear, for we are in the hands of God. The Blessed Mother assures us of her constant maternal protection and assistance during these times.
That is why, as followers of Jesus and as children of the Blessed Mother, we always have every reason to rejoice: “Alleluia! The Lord is risen!” “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it!”
Song: “This is the Day That the Lord Has Made”
GUIDE QUESTIONS FOR SHARING IN THE B.E.C.
1. Pag-usapan at linawin sa isipan ang wastong pag-unawa sa RESURRECTION sa pamamagitan ng paghahambing nito sa REINCARNATION at RESUSCITATION.
2. Ang digmaan sa espiritu ay nangyayari na. Ano ang iyong karanasan tungkol dito?