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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Transform Your Entire Being Into The Image Of The Godhead Itself

Christ is Risen!

We come now to Easter Sunday, to the great day of Christ’s victory. As Gregory of Nazianzen says, this feast surpasses all others as the Sun is brighter than all other stars in the sky. We who have been born into Christ and served with Christ on Holy Thursday and suffered and died with Christ on Good Friday must now rise with Christ on Easter Sunday. I say must rise with him not because of anything we will do but because of what the Father must do for us. He has promised this and he will do it.

Just as the Easter Triduum is not three separate liturgies, but one great liturgy, remember there are no dismissal prayers!, so is our journey in Christ not a series of separate events but rather one continuous journey in Christ from birth to life to suffering to death and to Resurrection. So let there be no more sorrow among us. Christ is risen, let the world rejoice!

Our Gospel for today is a very interesting one. Mary of Magdala announces that the tomb is empty and wonders where they have taken the Lord’s body. Peter and John enter the tomb and see the burial cloths but do not yet understand. They return home but do not yet realize the momentous event that has taken place. Do we? Do we see that as Franciscans we are called to bear witness to resurrection in our lives today, particularly in a world that still does not believe?

How important the Resurrection is for our lives as Franciscans in Christ! Francis’ call and our own began with the call of the San Damiano Christ, the crucified and resurrected Lord, to rebuild his Church. The Resurrection is at the root of our Franciscan call to poverty, for on the Cross Christ was stripped of all that he had. On Easter Sunday Christ left even his funeral bandages in the tomb. He died and rose possessing nothing but the Father.

Indeed, Francis and Clare saw the signs of the Resurrection everywhere. When Francis and Clare saw the flowers blooming as they are in our chapel today, they would be immediately reminded of that flower which sprung from the root of Jesse and which raised up countless thousands of the dead by its sweet fragrance.

Francis would often speak of how the light of the risen Christ shone most brightly in the poor.

The marks on Francis’ hands, his feet, and his side were marks not only of Christ’s crucifixion but also the proofs of Christ’s resurrection. These are the marks that Francis himself bore so that he might bear witness to Christ’s glorious resurrection in his very flesh.

Even at his death, Francis bore witness to the reality of the resurrection as Bonaventure wrote,
“For after this blessed man left the world, that sacred spirit, entering a home of eternity, and made glorious by a full drought from the fountain of life, left certain signs of future glory imprinted on his body; so that, his most holy flesh, which crucified along with its vices had already passed into a new creature, bore the likeness of Christ’s passion by a singular privilege and would offer by the newness of a miracle a glimpse of the resurrection.”

See how Francis conformed himself to the image of the Godhead? So are we to do the same. And not just ourselves, but the whole world.

Yes, our lives as Christians, our lives as Franciscans take place within the light of the Resurrection a light that we are called to bear witness to in the world around us and in our own lives.

We have a tradition on Easter of hunting for eggs that have been hidden, often in the shadows and dark places. Indeed Mary of Magdala is said to be the source of this tradition. For, after Christ’s resurrection she brought Pilate a basket of eggs with the news that Christ had risen. Pilate responded that he would not believe even if her eggs turned red – which they did at that very moment. These eggs became signs of the resurrection.

I challenge us to hunt for these eggs, these many signs of the resurrection present but hidden in our world today particularly in the lives of the poor and those places where Christ may seem to have been taken away. Let us find us find them and show them to the world that all may come to see and believe and join us on our journey in Christ.


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