Saturday, April 4, 2015

Fr. Campbell's Sermon for Easter Sunday 2015

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Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015
“Our Heart Burning within Us”(Lk.24:32)

A Blessed Easter to everyone! How blessed we are to be able to celebrate the great feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord in our beautifully renewed church, which we blessed and re-dedicated yesterday afternoon!

On this holy Easter Morning we are invited by St. Paul to remember the events of the Passover. The Israelites, after 430 years in Egypt, had been commanded by God to prepare an unblemished lamb to be sacrificed. It was to be consumed that evening, and its blood was to be sprinkled on their doorposts and lintels. When God sent the angel of death to claim the firstborn of the land of Egypt, he passed over the homes of the Israelites, because he saw the blood of the lamb that had been slain. But the firstborn of the Egyptians, including the son of the pharaoh, expired during the night. When the Israelites left Egypt in haste to escape the wrath of the pharaoh and his army, they did not have time to let their bread rise, so they ate it unleavened. Note that we use unleavened bread in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

When the Israelites reached the Red Sea under the leadership of Moses, he struck the water with his staff, and the waters parted to let them pass through. But when the Egyptians pursued them the waters came rushing back, and pharaoh and his army perished in the Red Sea.

After forty years in the desert, only the Israelites who were born in the desert were allowed to enter the Promised Land. The older generation, those who had left Egypt, were not allowed to enter. Many of them had perished in the desert when God punished them for worshipping the golden calf and behaving in a gravely sinful manner. Not even Moses was allowed to enter the Promised Land, but he was able to view it from Mount Nebo before he died. Only Joshua and a few others of the older generation entered the Promised Land. 

When the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant reached the Jordan, then in flood stage, the waters ceased to flow, rising up in the upper parts of the river. All the people crossed over led by Joshua. When all had safely crossed, the waters again rushed down on their way to the Dead Sea. This tells us a story in itself, because Joshua is another form of the name, Jesus. And Jesus Christ is the one who leads us into the Promised Land of Heaven.

How wonderfully the events of the Old Testament foretell those of the New. Jesus Himself affirmed both before and after His Resurrection that the Old Testament Scriptures refer to Him. To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus to whom He appeared shortly after His Resurrection, He said:

“‘O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things before entering into his glory?’ And beginning then with Moses and with all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things referring to himself” (Lk.24:25-27).

Still not realizing that it was the risen Jesus Himself speaking to them, they invited Him to stay with them overnight. St. Luke relates:

“And it came to pass when he reclined at table with them, that he took the bread and blessed and broke and began handing it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. And they said to each other, ‘Was not our heart burning within us while he was speaking on the road and explaining to us the Scriptures?’” (Lk.24:29b-32).

The truth of the Holy Gospels must be defended against the false prophets foretold by Our Lord. The words of Jesus to the two disciples have been flatly contradicted by Benedict XVI (Ratzinger). In his “let’s pretend” world, the word of God can have two different meanings, one for the Jews and one for the Catholics. This sounds like the Protestant doctrine of the private interpretation of Scripture – the Bible means what you think it means, or more likely, what you want it to mean. But that it should mean two different things at once?

But Benedict, like Bergoglio after him, is in the business of appeasing the Jews, whom he says are justified in not seeing Jesus Christ in the prophecies of the Old Testament, because of the “obscurity of the texts”. But Jesus did not find the texts obscure when He spoke to the two disciples about “Moses and the prophets” and “in all the Scriptures the things referring to Himself”.

Says Ratzinger, “There are perfectly good reasons… for denying that the Old Testament refers to Christ…” Incredibly, he says that “the shock of the Shoah (the Holocaust) has put the whole question in a new light,” which he thinks should cause Christians to renounce any right to propose a Christian interpretation of the Old Testament, which he dubs “Israel’s Bible.” (Information from God and the World, and other writings by Ratzinger, as quoted by Dr. T. Droleskey in No Space Between Ratzinger and Bergoglio, p.15).

But why should their Holocaust have any effect whatsoever on what the Catholic Church has taught for 2,000 years? Who has first claim on the Old Testament? Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, of course! The Word of God, and the right to interpret it, belong to God, the Word! In any case, the Jews have abandoned “Israel’s Bible” and placed their money on their Talmud.

“‘O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things before entering into his glory?’ And beginning then with Moses and with all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things referring to himself” (Lk.24:25-27).

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen! Alleluia!