Happy Easter everybody!!!
What if I told you
that for a lot of us Christians. . .
we only celebrate part of the Easter story. . .
just a part?!?!?!
It’s like being invited to
the hottest Broadway show in town. . .
and that first act. . .
it’s so wonderful!
It’s so positive and uplifting. . .
it gives such great hope!!
It’s so good,
that when the curtain comes down
on the first act. . .
we think we’ve seen the whole play. . .
we leave celebrating the great victory won by Christ. . .
but what if there’s more. . .
what if there’s a second act in the Easter Story. . .
a second act just as astonishing. . .
as what was in the first act.
There’s always more with Jesus!!!!. . .
There’s always more Good News!!!
We know the first act well.
Something has gone terribly wrong with humanity. . .
With the freedom that God gave us. . .
we tend to do things our own way. . .
not God’s way.
And the results are disastrous. . .
Conflicts and division and violence,
both personally and collectively. . .
Poverty. . .
Suffering. . .
Sickness. . .
Humanity no longer lives in paradise!!!
But God loves us so much that
He has a rescue plan!
A plan that begins with Abraham
and the Chosen People. . .
And then God gives Moses the Law. . .
the Ten Commandments to remind
again of God’s way of doing things.
And then there’s the great prophets to
further remind the people of God’s ways. . .
And then. . .
the final and the definitive part
of God’s rescue plan.
From the Chosen People. . .
God sends the Messiah. . .
God sends Jesus. . .
The Anointed One of God. . .
Jesus the Christ. . .
fully human and fully divine.
And Jesus shows us even
more about the ways of God!!!
But Jesus does more!!!. . .
There’s always more!!!
Jesus does something that only
someone who is fully human and
fully divine can do. . .
He saves us!!!
Jesus sets right all the disasters that
come from us doing things our way. . .
In Jesus. . .
the supposed paradox of
justice and mercy come together.
Justice and Mercy come together
in the Crucified Jesus on the Cross!!!
And on the third day. . .
Jesus rises from the dead. . .
And now death is defeated. . .
death no longer has the final say for humanity!!!
Eternal life is now offered to us!!!
And the Risen Jesus ascends to heaven
to prepare a place for us. . .
in His Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
And the Risen and Ascended Jesus
sends the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
to be with us still. . .
And there’s the Eucharist!!!
Jesus and His Spirit still here to comfort us. . .
To lead and guide us in the ways of God!!!
There is hope. . .
There is great hope!!!
So when we die. . .
it is not the end. . .
With that Great Hope. . .
after some purification process
to ready ourselves to
live with God for eternity. . .
We go to heaven with Jesus. . .
and all because of Jesus.
That’s what we celebrate today. . .
Jesus has done something for us
that we could never do for ourselves. . .
Eternal life with God!!!
And the curtain goes down. . .
the first act is done!!!
But stay. . . there’s more. . .
We can sometimes forget. . .
there’s more. . .
Always more of the Good News with Jesus!!!
There’s still Act II of the Easter story!!!
As the curtain lifts for Act II. . .
it’s some day in the future. . .
a day that only God the Father knows.
And Jesus the Christ. . .
The Messiah comes again. . .
His second coming.
He comes again like that great figure
in the Daniel 7. . .
the Son of Man. . .
Jesus Himself tells us He’s the Son of Man
And with His second coming. . .
the benevolent King Jesus comes to rule. . .
He comes to rule a new heaven and a new earth!!!
Did you hear that. . .
The Easter story doesn’t end in heaven. . .
The Easter story ends in a new heaven and a new earth.
When Jesus comes again. . .
the heavenly realm and
the earthly realm come together. . .
These two realms have been
interconnected in some ways. . .
two different dimensions so to speak. . .
but now heaven and earth come together. . .
they become one new creation!!!
And our earthly bodies will be raised up. . .
Resurrected . . .
from the ground of the earth. . .
and our souls. . .
which have been waiting in heaven. . .
are reunited with our bodies. . .
and we’ll be complete again—
Our glorified bodies. . .
like Jesus’ Resurrected body!!!
Our same bodies. . .
But Oh, so incredibly different. . .
better. . .
This was all shown to
John the Revelator in
Revelation chapter 21. . .
John saw a new heaven and a new earth. . .
the former heaven and
the former earth had passed away
He saw in this new heaven and new earth. . .
There were no more tears. . .
No more death. . .
No more mourning. . .
No more wailing or pain!!!
The old order has passed away.
And John the Revelator
heard God say:
“Behold, I make all things new”. . .
“I make all things new”
There’s still more. . .
In this second act.
And in this heaven and this new earth. . .
creation itself is restored.
St. Paul says all creation groans for
the Second Coming of Jesus.
This new creation was shown to (Chapter 11)
He saw the wolf as the guest of the lamb. . .
and the leopard lying down with the young goat. . .
and the calf and the young lion. . .
they browse together
with a little child to guide them. . .
And He saw the lion eating hay like the ox. . .
and babies playing in the viper’s den!!!
And Isaiah heard God say:
“They shall not harm or destroy”
all creation will be filled with knowledge of the LORD.
And the Resurrected Jesus. . .
He’s the first representative of that new creation. . .
it starts at Easter.
Did you know that when Jesus says
“I’m going to prepare a place for you. . .
in my Father’s house there are
many dwelling places. . .
what the Greek actually means
is a temporary place.
Act I. . .
ends in heaven. . .
Act II. . .
ends in a new heaven and new earth. . .
A renewed humanity. . .
A renewed creation. . .
Living peacefully with God and each other.
Paradise has been restored. . .
the fullness of the Kingdom of God!!!
And as Easter people. . .
We live constantly with this great
hope and joy
of what’s coming. . .
We are Easter people. . .
signs for everyone so they see what’s coming!!!!
With God’s grace,
We give it all a head start.
That’s why we feed the poor
and clothe the naked. . .
and have hospitals where heal the sick are healed.
We are Easter people. . .
that’s why we forgiveness. . .
and show mercy. . .
and promote unity. . .
we are signs of what’s coming. . .
That’s what we celebrate. . .
and that’s what we act out. . .
The great hope and joy of Easter. . .
Act 1 and Act 2. . .
We are Easter people!!!
Holy Spirit 04/3-4/2021