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Thursday, June 9, 2016

From Death to Life!

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 5, 2016
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

In today’s Gospel passage (Luke 7:11-17), we  reflect on the powerful scene where Our Lord Jesus raises a man from death to life. 

Our Lord is traveling to a city and a large crowd of people are following Him. They pass by a dead man in a coffin who is being carried out. Our Lord sees the dead man and his mother who was saddened at his death, and He stops everything and touches the man’s coffin, orders him to arise, and the man sits up. The people who witnessed this event are astounded! They proclaim out loud,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst. God has visited his people.”

My brothers and sisters, as we hear this story, let us remember that a great prophet has arisen in our midst! This prophet is Our Lord Jesus Christ! 

As you know, there have been many prophets in the history of our faith. In today’s first reading (1Kings 17:17-24), the great Prophet Elijah also raised a man back to life.

Yet, there is a difference between the prophetic ministry of the prophets of old and the mission of Jesus. The prophetic ministry of the prophets was to proclaim the word of God and to manifest God's power among the difficulties of their times. 

But Our Lord’s prophetic ministry is the fulfillment of all prophets. His mission was not simply to manifest God’s power but to restore God’s kingdom in its fullness! 

Our Lord Jesus Christ is greater than any prophet. He is the Son of God! He has come into a world plagued by sin and death in order to break the power of sin and death and restore us to life! 

As Jesus raised the dead man to life in today’s Gospel, so He wants to raise each one of us back to life from the death of sin. This is why Our Lord suffered and died on the cross! 

Even though He shares in the likeness of God, He came in our human nature to restore man's nature to end the death that comes from sin, and allow us to live with Him for all eternity!

Our Lord performed miracles and raised dead people to life when He walked the earth because the power of God was in Him. He did these things to show that the Kingdom of God had come into our midst. But Our Lord has taught us not to rely on miracles. He has taught us to rely on faith. God has continued to work miracles throughout the history of our Church during the past 2000 years in order to help us in our faith, but it is not the miracles of God that will save us. It is our faith that will save us! 

My brothers and sisters, we live in a world filled with suffering. We live in a world filled with pain. We live in a world where everyone of us will experience death. But this is not what God has intended for us! God did not create death, and He does not want us to die in a world that is perishing because it has turned from His plan of life!

In today’s Gospel we hear that when our Lord sees the dead man and his mother that He was moved with pity. What about our world today? How does our Lord feel when He looks down upon our societies today? What He sees must break His heart! The death, the corruption, the violence, the abortions, the misuse and abuse of our sexuality... God does not want these things! This is why our good and gracious God has sent His Son into our world!

Today’s Gospel passage gives us hope! Despite all the chaos in our world today, despite the immoral influences that are plaguing our society, despite the lies and corruptness of our political leaders, God is in control! A great prophet has arisen in our midst, and He is coming again to put an end to all violence, pain, suffering, and all that is not of God’s kingdom! 

Therefore, in these difficult times in which we
Fr. John Paul Shea
live we need to stand strong in our faith! Let us not live for a world that is passing away, for our world is deteriorating rapidly! But, let us acknowledge the gift of eternal life that Our Lord Jesus has come to give to us by following His call for repentance and conversion. For, “A great prophet has arisen in our midst.” This prophet is Jesus Christ, True God and True Man,  and He is coming again  to fulfill the establishment of His Kingdom! Amen.

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