4th Sunday of Easter – Cycle C
Acts 13:14, 43-52; Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5; Rev 7:9, 14b-17; Gospel: Jn 10:27-30Newspaper Headlines for Easter Sunday
If newspapers existed during the time of the first Easter what would the headlines have been? Here are some of my ideas:
[[HOLD UP A SIGN]]
[[PAUSE – THEN READ THE BACK ]]
Must spend eternity in a lake of buring sulfur. “You get used to the smell and the heat” says Satan.
[[HOLD UP THE OTHER SIGN]]
[[PAUSE – THEN READ THE BACK ]]
Untold multitudes spend eternity in heaven experiencing the joy and love of God!
The purpose of a newspaper is to share the relevant events of the world with those that we live with.
Christians – God’s Newspapers
The word “Gospel” is an old-english word that means “Good News” – In that sense we Christians are called to be “Good” newspapers because we need to share the impact of the Good News on our lives. We do this by our actions of caring for the poor and the sick, of standing up for the weak and the innocent, of speaking the Truth with Love to our world today.
Christians – the Everlasting News papers
In another way, Christian’s are nothing like a newspaper. We are not just a piece of paper that is here today and gone tomorrow. Our Good News is always relevant, always fresh, always compelling. If it isn’t then it is a testament to our own faith, and calls us to re-examine our relationship with God. We don’t just report the facts, but rather we are called to share the Gospel, to share our experience of the transforming love of Jesus Christ with the world.
Surely you aren’t talking to me – Don’t call me Shirley!
When we share the good news the first stumbling block that we have is ourselves. We say to God – “You can’t possibly mean me”. How many times do we allow excuses to stop us from sharing the joy that we have in our hearts. What is the excuse that you or I might use? Well one way to find out is to look at the excuses that various saints and prophets have used in scripture.
- I would be embarrassed,
- I am not a good speaker
- they won’t listen,
- they will laugh at me,
- they will think that I am stupid, or naive?
Christ calls us to proclaim our Joy in knowing Him!
The truth is Brothers and Sisters that Christ is calling on each one of us here today to proclaim the Good News to our friends and family that we live with this week. Jesus chose each one of us to be witnesses to the Resurrected Christ not in spite of our weaknesses and fears but because of them. St. Paul recognized this when he said – “Where I am weak, God is strong”.
St. Paul – the unworthy witnesses to Christ
If ever there was a more unlikely witness to the Good News it was St. Paul.
- St. Paul was a short and homely man – not useful when you need to be a public speaker.
- His career highlights included sending Christians to jail and witnessing the stoning of Stephen.
- He was absolutely dedicated himself to destroying Christianity wherever he found it.
What transformed Paul’s life was his encounter with the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus. When he encountered Jesus, his whole life changed. He no longer persecuted Christians, but rather he proclaimed Christ, and him Crucified.
St. Paul’s Cable TV Show
St. Paul was always getting into fights. We might think that God could have picked a better person to be his “Apostle to the Gentiles”. Paul was not a quiet, peaceful and gentle man who was preaching the Love and Reconciliation of God. Paul was a scrappy little fighter, who seemed to start riots in every town he visited. If St. Paul had his own cable TV show it would be at the top of the ratings. Today’s first reading could be like a classic episode of Paul’s show. Whenever he came to town, he would share his love for God, and within two weeks there would be a riot which would usually end with Paul getting beat, and heading off to the next town to do it all over again. The beatings and abuse did not seem to matter to Paul, so powerful was his encounter with the resurrected Christ.
Serve the Lord with Gladness
Given this kind of encouragement, what can stop us from being witnesses to the “Good News”. The challenge for those of us here who are still on the fence about our faith is to climb down from the fence and get into the game. Christianity is not a spectator sport; it is a contact sport. Get into the game. We can do this in many different ways. Here are some examples
1. Encounter Christ – Read the Gospel. Go home tonight and take out your bible. Turn to the back where the Gospels are (“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John”) and read a little section each night. Use your imagination and get involved with the story. Allow Christ to enter into your heart and your life.
2. Pray daily. Pray for your families, pray for your co-workers. Pay attention to the needs of those around you and bring them before God. Say a rosary for them, or come here on Tuesday night for a period of adoration.
3. Get involved with the life of our parish. There are plenty of ways to get involved here at the parish. Help out with the fiesta in June. Volunteer to visit the elderly or the sick. Get involved with Mass, become a Lector, Server, Musician, Usher, or Extra-ordinary minister of Holy Communion. Help us to visit the sick or to teach catechism. Get involved.
Christ allays our fears – My sheep hear my voice…
In the Gospel today Christ allays our fears. He tells us that “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.” He knows us in a personal and intimate way, and he gives us the gift of eternal life, we cannot be separated from the Love of Christ. If we know – really know in the depths of our hearts, then we have nothing to fear from this world.
God’s Newspaper – written in Flesh and Blood
God’s Newspaper is not something you can buy at King Soopers or Safeway. His Newspaper is made of flesh and blood, it is those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, those who are sitting here today in this Church. You and I sisters and brothers are called to be the Good News to the world.
When you go out into the world this week to live your life – what will be your headline?