Third Sunday of Easter | April 9/10, 2016
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 here: Salesian Sermons
PROTIP: You can take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.
It is hard to believe, but the end of another school year is rapidly in sight.
I was reminded of this fact last week as the 8th grade began to get a tad sentimental on me.
Hey Fr. Brian, do you remember when Mr. Ferguson kicked that dodgeball directly into your face?
How about the time you ate a worm?
Or when you had to shave your head?
Or when you climbed on the roof to retrieve our soccer ball?
How about when you got into a dance-off at the middle school dance?
Or that time when you ran in front of the cop with the loaded gun to make sure we were safe?
As these assorted memories were tossed around, one of the kids looked at me and said, “Fr. Brian, you know you’re crazy right?”
Before I could respond, another one jumped in, “But it’s all because you love us right?”
Truer words have not been said.
It seems that love can make us do some pretty crazy things.
A lesson that I was reminded of while reflecting on the readings from this weekend.
For throughout the readings, we hear of Peter doing some pretty crazy things . . .
He stands up to the authorities of his day and tells them no. He will not be silent. He will not stop proclaiming the truth of a God who loved us enough to send his only son. Even though these men had the power to have him arrested, flogged and turned over to the Romans for execution.
He jumps out of a boat and swims to shore in his clothes, even though the boat was going to get there just as quickly.
He single handily races back to the shore and drags an incredible net full of fish all by himself onto the sand.
And he keeps telling Jesus that he loves him, despite how confusing and uncomfortable that exchange must have been.
All because he was in love. In love with a God that he was no longer afraid to be identified with. In love with a God who was going to take him down uncharted paths.
He didn’t necessarily have all the answers. And he certainly would not be spared the crosses to come.
But he did have faith in the promise of Christ’s abiding presence and love through it all.
It may have taken him awhile, but Peter finally arrives at that place in which he can love without fear.
My friends, I believe that Peter is offered to us this day as a model for our own discipleship.
A model of what it means to truly love.
Like Peter, we are called to proclaim our love in words.
When we look at our spouse and say, I am so sorry.
When we look at our student and say, I am so proud of you.
When we look at our friend and say, I am so grateful you are in my life.
When we look at our son or our daughter and say, I love you and I will always love you.
Knowing that these exchanges can often be uncomfortable. Knowing that we would much rather just rest on the presumption that they already know how we feel and avoid that awkward moment of being outside of our comfort zone.
Like Peter, we are called to put our love into action.
When we offer to buy lunch for the woman who is panhandling at the intersection we drive by everyday.
When we spend an hour searching the house for monsters so that our little one can go to sleep.
When we sit up all night with a heartbroken teen who can’t imagine life without their boyfriend or girlfriend.
When we send those flowers to our co-worker who just lost her mother.
Knowing that we are already tired and stretched thin. Knowing that we have numerous other priorities clamoring for our attention. Knowing that we may be judged for these actions.
Knowing that we may be viewed as being a little crazy.
This, my friends, is ultimately what Easter is all about.
It is entering a new world in which all is done for love and nothing out of fear. Knowing that we all may look a little bit crazy in the end.
So let us Be not afraid!
Let us choose to love. Today, tomorrow, and forever.
I love you my dear friends. May God be Praised.