Touch me and see...

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Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter
 (Scriptures for today's Mass)
Audio for homily

From today's gospel: While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish;  he took it and ate it in front of them.

Jesus asks for something to eat here, 
not just because he’s hungry,
but because he wants his friends to know he’s REAL,
that he really rose from the dead,
that he’s not a ghost or a hologram or a dream,
that he’s got a belly and he’s hungry,
he’s REALLY with them – in person!

Even today the risen Jesus is real:
he has hands and feet, and arms and legs;
he’s short and tall
and of every imaginable build and size and color.

He’s all these things because he’s risen in each of us.
He’s risen in men and women; in girls and boys.

And Jesus is still hungry, he’s risen in the poor
and with their voice he asks us for something to eat.

Jesus is risen in the people we love
- and in the people we fail to love:
in the people we look down on and ignore and reject.

Jesus is risen in Republicans, and in Democrats, too --
   thus confounding members of both political parties.
Jesus is risen in conservatives and in liberals.
He’s risen in American born citizens and in illegal immigrants.
He’s risen in our friends and in our enemies.
He’s risen in straight people and in gay people.
He’s risen in those who love the Church and its teachings
   and he’s risen in those struggle with the Church and its ways.
He’s risen in children abused by clergy
   and he’s risen in the clergy who abused them.
He’s risen in the relative we no longer speak to
   and in the neighbor we refuse to forgive.
He’s risen in the married, the single, the divorced;
in the loving spouse, in the unfaithful spouse,
   and in the ex-spouse.
He’s risen in the caring parent and in the negligent parent.
He’s risen in those who are here today and every Sunday --
and he's risen in those who haven’t been to church in years.

This morning, at this First Communion Mass,
the risen Jesus has hundreds of faces:
some very young and some not so very young:
each one different and yet each the same,
because behind every face is the face of the risen Christ
who lives in our flesh and blood, who uses our hands and feet,
who dwells in our hearts and souls.

All of us, without exception,
are sometimes faithful and sometimes unfaithful
to the life of the risen Jesus within us.
We are all blessed by the grace of his presence
and we are all in need of his mercy and pardon.

Who knows how many times
and in how many ways in the past week
the risen Christ appeared to you and to me
and asked, in some way, for something to eat,
for some gift from us that he desires?

And who knows how many times,
and in how many ways in the past week
the risen Christ approached you and me and offered to feed us
with his word, his truth, his mercy and his love?

And in the week ahead of us will we,
because of our presence here and our prayer today,
will we be more aware, more open, more responsive to Christ
when his path crosses ours and he walks into our lives?

In a few moments we will offer bread and wine in thanksgiving
and invoke the Spirit of God on our gifts,
praying that our bread and wine
will become the presence of the Risen Jesus at this table.

Here, Jesus doesn’t ask us for something to eat but rather
offers to feed us and he invites us to touch him,
for he is truly risen and present
in the Bread and Cup of the Eucharist.

Today we invite these children to share with us for the first time
in Communion with the risen Christ.

Pray with me that you and I will faithful to the Lord
who has brought us together this morning
and pray with me that we’ll be faithful in bringing our children,
Sunday after Sunday after Sunday,
to meet and receive Jesus: truly risen among us.


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  1. my words cannot express my gratitude for your words here-
    both written and recorded-

    all of your homilies are very thoughtful and helpful, but I feel that, at least for right now, for today, THIS ONE is THE MOST helpful to me-
    your words went right to the place in my heart where I most needed them-
    and my presence at church yesterday, and hearing your words now, made me realize that they DID make me more aware and more open and more responsive to Christ when his path crossed mine, as it did today-
    I am grateful for that opportunity-

    and I look forward to finding others in the coming days this week...

  2. Awesome word and recording. Well said and a great reminder of God's presence.
    Thank you.


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