THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
21 April 2019
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The Sunday Sermon Archive
Very early on the first day of the week, the women went to finish the anointing and preparing the Body of Jesus for burial. They were unable to complete this task on Friday evening as the Holy Sabbath was starting and these labors were forbidden, and so it was not until the Sabbath ended, and then not until the sun began to rise and give them some light, that they were able to go to the tomb and complete their ministrations to the Body of Jesus.
These women carried spices and ointments that were used to mask the odors that were produced by the dissolution of bodies, and also to dry and preserve bodies from further corruption. The spiritual authors tell us that these spices and ointments represent the virtues that the saints carry to Jesus. The virtues are a welcome and pleasing fragrance to God. We have finished the Lenten season and now we approach to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and we should come to receive Him with the beautiful fragrance of virtue and not the smell of sinful decay.
As the women approached the sepulcher they found the stone was rolled away. The stone once enclosed Jesus and hid Him away from us. The Fathers of the Church tell us that the Commandments were written upon stone tablets. The Laws of God given through Moses hinted to Jesus but kept Him hidden from us. Now the stone has been rolled back and we can see where Jesus once lay hidden from our sight. But, Jesus is no longer there. An angel remains and he instructs the women (and us) that Jesus has risen and He will be seen in Galilee.
Jesus has left Jerusalem (the children of Israel) and has gone over to Galilee (the Gentile nations). This is where He is to be seen. That is, Jesus, reveals Himself in those who believe in Him. St. Augustine says: "The words, 'there you shall see Him etc.,' signify also that the grace of Christ was to pass over from the people of Israel to the Gentiles, and that the Apostles' preaching would never be received by them unless the Lord going before them prepares the way in their hearts, 'I will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him,' that is, there you shall find His members."
We are to find Jesus in His members. He is there in His true members and we can see Him if we are looking for Him. Yet, it is not enough to see that Jesus is in His saints. We must work to see Him there, but we must work even harder so that we become or remain His members and that He can be seen or found in us.
When we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we are not receiving mere bread as we do at a meal nor are we receiving the dead Body of Jesus. He has risen and is alive and is not dead. He is living in the Holy Eucharist. The substance of bread is gone and now we have only the Substance of Jesus Christ. The appearance is not that of Jesus Christ but it is still the appearance of bread. In receiving Holy Communion we are not consuming a symbol of Jesus, or the remains of Jesus we are truly receiving the Living Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ The Living God. We must not only believe in Him and receive Him, but we must constantly do all that we can to keep the Life of Christ within us and never drive Him out of our lives. We are to be Galilee where He enters and is to be seen.
We must advance from the empty tomb of the dead into the full eternal Life of Jesus Christ. We must leave death behind in order to enter into eternal Life.
As the women came to the tomb with precious spices and ointments, let us come with precious and pleasing virtues. As the women found the stone rolled back and could see clearly where Jesus was once buried, may we see in the Old Testament where Jesus was once hidden. He has risen; He is revealing Himself to us in His Saints. He is asking to live within us where others who may be seeking can find Him. We should strive to be able to say with Saint Paul, that it is no longer us, but Jesus living within us.
We should strive to see God in all of His creation but especially in His chief creatures, angels and men. We can see a reflection of Him in everything if we are looking for it. Jesus is also shown to us in the Sacred Scriptures if we are humble enough to search Him out there. These are images, reflections, or signposts that point Him out to us. We truly find Him in the Holy Eucharist where He longs for us to find Him and receive Him into our own bodies. It is His delight to live in us. He desires a more intimate relationship than walking beside us or watching from above. His desire is to live within us to transform our lives into His Life. He wishes to take our material and temporal life and make us truly spiritual and eternal, in Himself.
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