Homily for Easter, 2010

Easter 2010
Father Tom’s Homily

Two gospel stories can help us imagine the meaning of this great event we celebrate at Easter.
One is the story of the Good Shepherd. The other is the story of the Prodigal Son.

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus has gone to the darkest corner of the earth to rescue the lost sheep. It is the land of the dead, a place we dread. There he finds the bodies of those whose burial is marked by fine stones. He also finds the poor, abandoned and forgotten, in an unmarked places on land and at sea. Consider, for example, the thousands of earthquake victims in Haiti who were piled in the streets and then scooped up by a bulldozer and dumped in mass graves.
It is to this land of the dead that Jesus has gone to rescue them. In the parable the Good Shepherd brings the lost one home rejoicing. So too, Jesus brings the lost ones in the land of the dead home to the Father’s house rejoicing.

The other parable gives the touching gestures of that homecoming. The Father rushes to meet the son whom he had thought was dead and embraces and kisses him. He gives him clean clothes to replace his rags and put shoes on his feet. The old song of black slaves noted the shoes for bare feet. “All God’s children got shoes.”
And there is great rejoicing in the Father’s house, a banquet and music. And dancing in those new shoes.

These are Easter stories, because the Feast of the Resurrection is not just about Jesus’ rising from the dead, but it is also about our own rising one day.
This is our Feast about rising from death, and our welcome to the Father’s house with a banquet, music and dancing. And the shoes – “All God’s children got shoes.”
And above all, we are named by the Father, the same name he gave to Jesus, “My Beloved.”