2017-04-23, 2nd Easter A, Atom!

Homily 04-23-17
2nd Sunday of Easter, Cycle A
Acts 2:42-47; Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24; 1 Pt 1:3-9; Jn 20:19-31

(Scriptures included after homily)

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How many of you have ever seen an Atom?

Well, if I were to tell you, as a chemist, that everything we see and touch, and smell, and taste is made up of Atoms;

How many of you would now, tell me that you have seen an Atom?

And yet, I still haven’t convinced everyone!

OK then, if I were to show you an actual, electron microscope picture of an Atom;

How many of you would now believe that you have actually seen an Atom?

OK, and for the rest of you, you’ve had your three chances!
(All’s fair in faith and baseball!)

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Well, they say that, “Seeing is believing.”

So maybe we can’t totally blame Thomas for wanting proof for something as incredible as the Resurrection of Jesus from death.

And yet, Thomas actually DID witness the rising of Lazarus and several others throughout Jesus’ ministry. So why would he not believe the disciples about Jesus?  Well, as we all know, grief can be a pretty unsettling thing, can’t it?  And those disciples were well into the roller-coaster ride of grief.

Yet wouldn’t it have been fun to chat with Lazarus about his own, first-hand, death to-life experience!  We’ll have to save that, as a topic for another time.

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For now, let’s go back to the Atom.

If we take, for example, this dalmatic.  And if we are not color-blind, we could tell that it looks Beige and Gold in color.

And even if we don’t know very much about fabrics, if we look at it very closely, we can see that it’s made up of lots of tiny little threads.

And IF those little threads start falling apart, like some of these are, we can tell that they’re made up of some very soft, fuzzy stuff.

And then if we look at the tag on the back of this dalmatic, and believe what it says, we could say, that this fuzz is made up of cotton and polyester.  But we also know, that there are some coloring dyes and maybe even a little real gold mixed in there.

And before I get mugged in the ‘gathering space’ after Mass; to make a long story short, we’ve learned, through chemical tests, and because the polyester is man-made – from scratch, if you will.  We’ve learned that behind it all are Atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and a few other elements combined. (And probably NOT real gold.)

Polyester

So without being a certified chemist, and with a little bit of Faith, we actually could believe in Atoms.  And even if we still refused to believe, it doesn’t mean that Atoms don’t exist.  It just means that we are selectively missing out on one of God’s most wonderful graces of knowledge about His Creation.

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Now, as for Jesus Christ and His Resurrection from the dead, we can make the same analogy.

If we look at the big picture: here is our Church, of which WE are a part.  We know that it is about 2000 years old, and that it’s been led by some 266 popes, throughout the ages, all of whom, we have some record of knowledge about.  And all of them dedicated their lives to believing in Jesus, and His Resurrection.

We also have tens of thousands of saints, many of whom gave up their Lives as Martyrs, because of their Belief in Jesus, and His Resurrection.

We have the Testimony of eyewitnesses like Peter and John and Thomas, who actually saw Jesus after his death and burial.

And, IF we truly get to know Jesus, in Spirit, He will attest to his own Resurrection, directly to us, through signs and wonders, even today; because in our Baptism and Confirmation, just as He did for the Apostles, Jesus breathed His Holy Spirit right into our very own souls.

So without being a Scripture Scholar or a Theologian, the question of Belief in the Resurrection of Jesus is as irrefutable as our belief in the Atom.

And Jesus Himself said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  All we have to do, is look around us to see that we are ALL – irrefutably Blessed! . . .

– We have food (both at home and in this Eucharistic meal).
– We have work (even if we don’t get paid for it).
– We have friends (and family and loved ones).
– We have health enough to have made it here to Church today.

And as hard as the struggle of life may be for some of us, our unseen God gives us every new breath we take, in order to keep this thing we call Life, living.

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Of course we all know, that just as Jesus died, one day these mortal bodies of ours will die as well.

And that’s where the Resurrection
of Jesus is so important . . .

Because we ALSO believe, through our Faith, that our spirit, our soul will live-on forever.  And after our death, rather than being bound and shackled by a corruptible, disintegrating body, we will be resurrected, just like Jesus, with incorruptible and perfect bodies.

Bodies that are capable of penetrating even locked doors, and yet, still able to savor the most delectable of foods, still able to embrace one another in love, and still able to forgive, even those who deny and abandon us!

Our belief in Eternal Life, because of the unconditional Love of God, and because of our irrefutable belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, IS the very Foundation, the Cornerstone, the Atom of our entire Existence.

Now, the question is,
What are we doing about it?

Well, just as there are many different Atoms, that make up many different molecules, that all have different functions in Life, so, we too, are all unique in personalities and talents, as well.

And just as we know that, NOT all Atoms and molecules get along together perfectly, neither do we.

And yet, for example: the Result, the offspring, of the Explosive, but controllable, interaction between the atoms, Hydrogen and Oxygen, both essential to life; that union creates a substance that we could not even survive without, Water.

And IF, through the Mercy of their controllable Union, something could be created that’s even greater than either one of them ever was, individually, imagine what can be created when WE controllably share our different personalities and talents with others around the globe – with the Mercy of God’s peace and love.

Imagine how Great our world could be, if instead of butting heads and complaining about all of our differences, WE shared God’s Mercy with one another!

THIS is what Jesus was trying to teach us!

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You see, Divine Mercy is not some unattainable virtue, that’s impossible for us to replicate.  God’s Divine Mercy has actually been infused within every one of us, whether we believe it or not.

And for those of us who have been Baptized, we have the irrefutable proof, the electron microscope picture of that Mercy, written right within our own hearts!

Now, the question is: Are we leaving that Mercy lying on a shelf and getting dusty, like an old chemical bottle,

or are we Living that Divine Mercy with every interaction we make, with every Beautiful and Unique Soul we meet, as different as they may be from us, to Create something even more Glorious, to Create a new Relationship,

in union with our Lord, Jesus!

jmp 04-23-17

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Scripture Readings for the Mass of 04-23-17
Second Sunday of Easter
, A

First Reading: Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.  Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.

Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes.  They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.  And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

R. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

Let the house of Israel say, “His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say, “His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say, “His mercy endures forever.”

R. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

I was hard pressed and was falling, but the LORD helped me.  My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.  The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just:

R. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.

R. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

Reading 2: 1 Pt 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.

In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel:  Jn 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.  Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”  Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

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