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Preach of the week

The pastor of our parish, Didier Croonenberghs o.p. gives a homily during the Sunday celebration. A weekly Gospel-based pastoral manual for the faithful. Below you will find last week’s sermon…

I suppose you procrastinate sometimes too… Procrastinating means delaying things until later, till tomorrow, till later, till…
Procrastinating is shifting until later what can be done NOW… It’s actually intentional, being overly slow…. And why? …
Isn’t the root of this behavior—which we all know—a lack of confidence or a fear that makes us procrastinate?

As I read this gospel again, it occurred to me that the “other disciple” suffered from this procrastination: what Peter and the other disciple are doing here is really crazy. The other disciple arrives at the tomb first, but he does not enter…. It is as if he is afraid. It is as if he wants to postpone his entry into the grave…! That other disciple in the gospel is a bit like us. We walk. We walk… But we don’t always take the time to get to the bottom of everything… We procrastinate… We don’t take the time to go into our graves!

The Resurrection—if it is to have real meaning in our lives—happens today, here and now! The Resurrection is the unexpected promise of a promise that aims to enrich (or shake up) our daily lives. Today. Now. We cannot delay our resurrection!
For the resurrection does not (only) speak about our future! It is about experiencing the present intensely. To experience Easter is to welcome the “time” for what it really is: the road that God’s eternity travels to reach us now. Here and now. How can that happen?

The disciples went to the tomb: that is, to the place of remembrance. What then are our graves? Our regrets? Our past? To experience the joy of Easter, we must—like Peter in the Gospel—enter the tomb. Facing our fears. Our past, our history rereading.

To discover the resurrection in our lives, for example, is to see and believe that someone dear to us—a husband, a friend, ourselves—is no longer where we would like him or her to be! To experience Easter is to mourn fruitfully! To experience Easter is to bring “new life” back into our lives.
By a tender word that reassures.
By a gentle gesture.
With a smile that calms.

To experience Easter is to enter the grave! It means we face our fears! In Greek—the language of the gospel—the words grave and fear are homonyms! It’s the same word: taphos. So Easter invites us to overcome our fears and that which holds us captive.

To succeed in this, we must dare to enter our graves—like Peter in the gospel. To look at our fears, our wounds, what has died in us… Then we will hear a voice: go on. Live ! Your real life is not here.
It is not in an obsolete past.
It’s not in this old love story that you can mourn.
It’s not in an aborted project… Get up. Continue. Live !

The Resurrection invites us to a victory over death, over our fears. But to achieve it, like Peter in the Gospel, we must find the strength to enter our graves, our dens of fear, our inner and spiritual “death”; – yes, we must boldly dare to enter our wounded and imprisoned soul. And then we will hear a voice speaking to us, saying, “Wake up, you who sleep! Stand up!’

This is the breath of Easter, the breath that takes us to our graves.
Then our fears, like the grave, will be empty!
May this joy of Easter accompany us!


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