HOMILY: The Danger of Holy Week

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click hereSalesian Sermons

The Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Day Mass | April 5, 2015

PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the readings here. This homily is based on the Gospel reading.

I want you to think back to a major transition in your life.

It could have been the day you brought your child home or the day you got married.

It could have been the day you started your new job or the day you enrolled at your new school.

It could have been the day you joined the Church or the day you left home for the 1st time.

Whatever it was, ask yourself this question.

Did you have any idea what you were getting into?

Now, I know for myself, my mind immediately goes to my first few weeks as a newly ordained administrator at Nativity Prep.

I remember my ordination and how I was so sure of my decision.  I had weathered some tough trials during seminary.   I had been paying attention in my classes, in my formation.  I had been guided by some great mentors.  I felt like I knew what I was getting into.

And then I actually got to Nativity.  I will never forget this one day that sort of encapsulated my entire 1st year experience.  It was the second week of school and the mayor was coming to congratulate us on our 10 year anniversary.  An hour before he arrived one of my students projectile vomits down the hallway.  As I am frantically trying to clean up the mess, another student is sent out of class and proceeds to burst into tears in the middle of the lobby.  I begin to comfort that student only to be told that one of my students kicked a soccer ball down the hill and it was rolling into traffic.  I race outside and watch as the ball gets wedged underneath a truck.  Next thing I know I am army-crawling underneath the truck only to discover that the truck was leaking oil.  A fact I discovered as I crawled through it.

I arrive to Nativity stinking of vomit, dripping in sweat and covered in oil.  I walk in hoping to escape to the bathroom when I hear the President exclaim, and here is our Director of Mission Fr. Brian Zumbrum.  I couldn’t help but laugh as the mayor looks at me with this mixture of shock and confusion.  I remember extending my hand and stating with utter sincerity, welcome to Nativity!

Yup, I had no idea what my new life at Nativity would bring.

Which is why I take comfort in our Gospel reading from this morning.

Because it is obvious that the disciples didn’t quite understand what their new life would bring either.

You would think after all of the lessons, all of the miracles, all of the prophecies, the disciples would have understood.

But they don’t.

Here they were, the privileged few who would experience the 1st day of Christ’s resurrection, and they didn’t even know they should be celebrating.

My friends, we have just celebrated some of the holiest days of our liturgical year.  And there is such a beauty in the movement from the Last Supper to the cross to the tomb to Easter morn.

But there is a danger in Holy Week.

The danger of believing that our own timelines in life will also move as quickly from crucifixion to resurrection.

I am sure that some of you, if not many of you are basking in Easter joy this morning.

You are surrounded by friends and family that you love.

You will get to enjoy the blessings of a good meal, the squeals of delighted children as they search for Easter eggs, and the quiet conversations with loved ones as you sip a nice glass of wine.

And yet, I am positive that there are those of you in this Church who are still waiting at the foot of the cross.

Those who have recently buried loved ones or witnessed the end of your marriage.

Those who are struggling with a child who has cut themselves off from the family or a spouse who has been caught in the throes of an addiction.

Those trapped in a cycle of violence, poverty, or abuse.

We may be singing Alleluia, but you are echoing the refrain of a different song.  My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?

There are still others in this Church who are still in a period of waiting, of anticipation.  You continue to keep the Holy Saturday Vigil as you try and figure out where the next step is in your life.  You are filled with uncertainty and confusion, as you seek the answers that continue to elude you.

For some, you are not quite sure why you are here.  You may not have stepped foot inside a church for months or years.  You may only be here because someone else forced you to come.  You may be hurt or confused.  Angry or bored.  But you are here.  You are here waiting to see what may happen.  For something stirs within you that gently calls you to something more.

And then there are still others here today who have found the empty tomb, but don’t know what it means.  You have begun something new, but you have no idea how it will all turnout.  You are afraid and excited.  You are anxious and yet full of confidence.

Yes, my friends, it is true.  Our lives are a seemingly endless cycle of Good Fridays, Holy Saturdays and Easter Sundays.

Which is why today is a day for each of us to rejoice.  For today we are reminded that it does not matter where we are on our journey, Christ will be there with us.

He will hold us in our sorrow and wipe away our tears.

He will be the light that goes before us showing us the way.

He will be our peace in our moments of anxiety and fear.

And He will laugh with us as we discover our joy.

We may not always know what we are getting into, my friends.  But we do know who will be there with us.

And for that, we can say.  Alleluia.

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