Thrid Sunday of Easter, Year B

Sunday, April 15, 2018
Fr. Jon
Homily transcription: 




This weekend we have two baptisms at 8:30 am Mass, then three confirmations at 10:30 am Mass, then Archbishop Jackels is here to confirm 62 of our high school youth at 2:00 pm.  So my homily will be a bit shorter than usual.  If you feel cheated, feel free to take money out of the collection when it goes by.


Today's Gospel is an appearance of the risen Jesus right after Emmaus, and it raises some questions:  How did Jesus just appear out of the blue to his disciples?  Why did they find this terrifying?  And most of all, why did he ask to eat fish?  Did he not know that Lent is over, and we can go back to eating meat again?


The Gospels go out of their way to emphasis that the risen Jesus is not a ghost.  Last Sunday we spoke of how he still had his wounds.  Today he invites his disciples to physically touch his flesh and bones, and then eats fish in front of them.


Such details make a big difference in how we view salvation.  Many of us get our idea of life after death more from Plato than from the Scriptures.  The philosopher Plato had the idea of the immortal soul that is trapped in the body, and pops out into another world.  This is not a Christian idea.  Scriptures are clear that the risen life includes a body, one that is not resuscitated but resurrected.  It is a glorified body that both transcends the limitations of our earthly body, and also corresponds to our earthly body.  We affirm this at every Sunday Mass when we recite our creed.  We do not say we believe in the immortality of the soul, but the resurrection of the body.


So salvation includes a body, it includes creation, it includes material reality.  One of the implications of this is that we have a moral obligation to care for creation.  We cannot destroy and trash this world in the hopes of popping into some other spiritual world.  Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si continues the teaching of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who is known as the green Pope.  Francis points out that especially in the last two hundred years, we have exploited, and polluted, and seriously damaged our earth.  And the effects of this is especially felt by the poor of the world.


Our Catholic response to this is not just technological changes, but moral changes.  This is not just in our individual lives, but also in our communal, corporate and political life as well.    This involves conversation, a new way of thinking.


And this begins with us, especially with us at St. Thomas Aquinas and Iowa State University.  In the present, and not too distant future, many of you will sit in board rooms and offices, and you will be part of making important decisions which impact the poor and the health of our earth.  As Catholics, I hope you bring moral considerations into those decisions.  Even if you are the only one on the board room who is asking these questions, you have a moral obligation to make sure they are asked.


Today's Gospel makes clear that salvation includes a body, and material reality.  This means that all of us have a moral imperative not only to care for each other, but also to care for God's creation.