Third Sunday of Easter | April 9/10, 2016 Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermo…
Source: HOMILY: Crazy in Love
Ok, we can’t have this everyday, and we didn’t get it here in the DC metro area until after the morning rain washed away the detritus of our very windy week. Look at all the shades, the deep blues, the brighter shades between the clouds… there are so many blues to imbibe with your eyes outside.
We’re scheduled for a fierce winter chill and possibly a windstorm later tonight but in the meantime everyone is out enjoying our amazing beautiful weather, dogs and children especially. After living in California for nearly two decades, I took blue skies for granted but Virginia’s variable weather has made me more grateful.
Writers and artists have deployed many metaphors and poetic approaches to express the “perfect blue sky day” and the many things it makes us yearn for and celebrate. Some prefer their skies perfectly clear and vibrant. Others will take any peek of blue behind the clouds. Me, I like a good mix of both as you can see in the photo above of the sky outside my window.
The Johnny Nash classic I Can See Clearly Now sums up what seems to be a universal feeling about this kind of day.
I confess: I love storms. They are an astounding embodiment of God’s awesomeness. Yes, things get destroyed, trees fall, rivers get re-routed, but God is right there through it all. Whatever the outcome, he walks with us, loves us, comforts us.
We cannot be an Easter people if we aren’t grateful for the Cross, and our own crosses, the storms of our lives. Sometimes God whispers, sometimes he roars, but always he Loves. I’m convinced that he uses storms to draw us closer to him, to convince our hearts that we can trust in him, to open us to greater possibilities than we will ever imagine on our own. He sends angels and helpers to us, often in disguise. He turns the unexpected challenge into a blessing.
I don’t always like walking through the wet, windy, messy storm of life, but I try to be grateful for the opportunity to grow closer to God. A good storm reminds me to pray, “thy will, not mine, be done.”
Jon went a bit deeper than I did on today’s theme of light and darkness…
Simple answer is no. God is not sadistic. If God is perfect and true love itself, there is no room for sadism. There is no room for exploitation. God does not enjoy seeing His people suffer.
Now that we are in Easter surrounded by the joy and hope of the Resurrection, I want us to pause and take a quick look back to last Friday. Good Friday. In just a few days look at how far we have come! We have turned from repentant mourners who were contemplating the weight of our sin to men and women living joyfully in the resurrected Light of the World!
The Light of the World, Jesus, who took our darkness, our suffering, on his shoulders and completely kicked it’s butt! It is in pain and hiding in a dark cave somewhere trying to escape the power and light of God.
When I went to…
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As I read obituaries of Patty Duke, I can’t help but be grateful for her work to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. Her willingness to share her story of living with bipolar disorder made it easier for millions of other people to face their own darkness, and thus lightened the burden for their family members. This affects me personally and sometimes breaks my heart but for the power of stories like hers. As hard as it is now, where would we be without her courage?
Be the change, said Mahatma Ghandi. Be the light in the night for those who are afraid. Jesus told us, “You are the light of the world.” He instructed us to live the Beatitudes not for our own sake but for others, to bring mercy and justice into an empty and cold world. I’m grateful to everyone who nurtures hope and lights candles in the face of despair.
Yesterday I celebrated the gift of free will, but let’s back up a little. Before God created us, He created our beautiful, amazing world. We’re still unlocking all its wondrous secrets, still discovering new details about how various creatures interact with their environment, still trying to understand the mystery of mosquitos. Seriously. What do we need those for?
This morning as I rode to work under a beautiful blue sky, I decided my topic for the day would be the sun, or maybe creation. This thought persisted even as the high pollen count seeped into me as if I’d just gone swimming in a pool of flowers. Nature isn’t always kind and the weather isn’t always convenient, but the very existence of our world is an act of love by God. As Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si, “Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.”
And so of course, we must sing! This lovely a cappella version of The Canticle of the Sun by Marty Haugen sums it up.
I saw a Facebook challenge today that I want to make happen: to spend the fifty days of the Easter Season celebrating God through positive witness on social media. On Day One, I’m going right to Genesis.
I’m grateful for the gift of free will, even though it led to an unfortunate choice by Adam and Eve. Yes, there’s suffering in the world because they exercised their free will and disobeyed God’s specific instructions. But, no serpent, no apple, no Incarnation, no Crucifixation, no Resurrection.
No matter what we do, God weaves salvation into our story. The catch is that we have to choose listen to Him instead of the snakes of anxiety, jealousy, pride and greed. The gift of free will is how God shows us what Love truly is: willing the good of the other for their own sake. How amazing is that?
Here’s one of my favorite songs to sing the point home – Matt Maher’s Love Has Come
(cross-posted by accident at dancingbackwardsinheels.wordpress.com)