|Proper 9, Sixth Sunday After Pentecost||July 8, 2012||Sermon, Proper 9, Year B||2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13|
|Proper 8, Fifth Sunday After Pentecost||July 1, 2012||Sermon, Proper 8, Year B||Lamentations 3:21-33; Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Mark 5:21-43|
|Proper 7, Fourth Sunday in Pentecost||June 24, 2012||Sermon, Proper 7, Year B||Job 38:1-11, Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32; Mark 4:35-41|
|Proper 5, Second Sunday in Pentecost||June 10, 2012||Sermon, Proper 5, Year B (Second Sunday of Pentecost)||Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1|
|Trinity Sunday, Year B||June 3, 2012||Trinity Sunday, Year B||Isaiah 6:1-8; Ps 29; Romans 8:12-17;John 3:1-17|
|Day of Pentecost, Year B||May 27, 2012||Day of Pentecost, Year B||Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15|
|Sixth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 13, 2012||Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17|
|Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 6, 2012||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:24-30; I John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8|
|Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 29, 2012||Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18|
|➤Third Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 22, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||Luke 24:36b-48|
|Second Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 15, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||John 20:19-31|
|Easter, April 8, 2012||April 8, 2012||Sermon, Easter Sunday, Year B||Mark 16:1-8|
|Good Friday, April 6, 2012||April 6, 2012||Good Friday||John 18:1-19:42|
|Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012||April 5, 2012||Maundy Thursday||John 13:1-35|
|Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 25, 2012||Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||John 12:20-33|
Third Sunday in Easter, Year B
Sermon Date:April 22, 2012
Scripture: Luke 24:36b-48
Liturgy Calendar: Second Sunday of Easter, Year B
On the day of resurrection, Luke tells us that when Jesus appeared to the disciples, Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
We, too, are the witnesses of these things.
When God sent Jesus to walk among us as a human being, “to live and die as one of us,” as we pray in today’s Eucharistic prayer, God honored and richly blessed our physical beings, and in fact, honors and richly blesses creation itself.
Jesus is our fully human, incarnational pathway to God –because through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus reconciles us to God—that is, he leads us back into right relationship with God, the Creator of all things. Jesus shows us how we are to live in right relationship with God and with one another.
And Jesus sends us, who are his present day disciples, out to walk in the pathways of reconciliation that God has laid out for us. All of the gospels state the challenging fact that God, through Jesus, calls us to go out and to be witnesses to God’s love.
And the wounded hands and feet of Jesus, with the evidence of his sufferings intact, make clear that God honors and richly blesses the suffering that we end up enduring as we witness to God’s reconciling love for all of us and for creation itself, because these wounds are not erased even in the miracle of the resurrection.
Today is April 22, and since 1970, we in the United States have celebrated Earth Day on this day, a day which serves as a reminder that we need to care for our earth, God’s good creation.
And Earth Day also reminds Christians of that passage in Romans, Chapter 8, that says that the whole creation is suffering and groaning in labor pains while it waits for redemption, just as we human beings are in need of redemption.
Since today is Earth Day, I want to tell you about Dorothy Stang,a Catholic nun, who walked the pathways that God laid out for her and served as a witness to God’s redeeming and reconciling love for both humanity and for creation.
In his book, Lazarus, Come Forth! How Jesus Confronts the Culture of Death and Invites us into the New Life of Peace, John Dear tells Sr Dorothy’s story.
“On February 12, 2005, Sr. Dorothy Stang walked along a dirt road deep in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon on her way to meet a handful of poor farmers bearing up under harassment from illegal loggers and ranchers. She trudged along, until two hired assassins blocked her way. In response to their challenge, she produced maps and documents proving that the government had designated the land as a reserve for the landless poor. ‘Do you have a weapon?’ they asked. Yes, she answered, showing them the Bible she had carried for decades. She opened it and began to read aloud: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are the peacemakers….’ Then she said, ‘Bless you, my sons.’
”The two shot her six times and fled. Her body lay on the dirt road all day, nearby witnesses later said, because they were afraid they would be shot if they moved it. As it rained, her blood mixed with the dirt.”
Sr. Dorothy was a woman who defended the poorest of the poor in the Amazon, and defended the rain forest long before anyone gave environmentalism a thought. John Dear describes her as a woman of enormous commitment, faith and vision.
Dorothy was born in 1931 in Dayton, Ohio, and became a nun at the age of seventeen. In 1961 she went to Brazil to work in a Catholic mission, and eventually she became a Brazilian citizen. She learned the languages of the Amazon, set up remote parishes, taught the Gospel in the twenty-three schools she established, and created a structure for the poor to reclaim land that had been illegally taken from them by the illegal loggers and ranchers, the people that Sr Dorothy did not hesitate to confront.
She lived under constant threats of death, but she carried on her work, and included her enemies in her prayers for peace, even as they threatened, terrorized and destroyed many of her programs.
Her description of her life is in a letter that she sent to her family back in the United States on her sixtieth birthday.
She says, “That I’ve been able to live with, love, be loved by, and work with the Brazilian people, to help them find confidence in themselves, to profoundly sense God’s presence in their lives and then be a creative influence in society from which a more human society can be born, I thank all of you. It’s a chain reaction. We can give positive input-energy into life, but we need to be charged also. In the midst of all this violence there are many small communities that have learned the secret of life: sharing, solidarity, confidence, equality, pardon, working together. God is present—generator and sustainer of all life. This life is productive and transforming in the midst of all this.” She asked her family for the following prayer.
“Pray for all of us and for a world where all can live—plants, animals, humans—in peace and harmony.”
In 2002 the death threats intensified and the mayor of the town near her home put a bounty of $20,000 on Sr Dorothy’s head after charging her with organizing armed rebellion.
A few days before she was killed, Sr Dorothy said “I look at Jesus carrying the cross and I ask for the strength to carry the suffering of the people…if something is going to happen, I hope it happens to me, because the others have families to care for.”
Two thousand Brazilians marched at Sr Dorothy’s funeral, which was attended by reporters from all over the world.
Two days later, the president of Brazil announced the creation of two new national parks in the Brazilian rain forest, expanded another, and placed eight and a half million acres under environmental protection. And– he suspended the illegal logging that had been taking place in the contested areas that Dorothy had worked so hard to protect. These actions were specific signs of resurrection that took place because of the witness of one woman’s walk in the pathway that God had laid out for her, even though that pathway led her through suffering and ultimately to death.
John Dear sums up Sr Dorothy’s story with these words.
“Throughout her life and in her martyrdom, Dorothy unbound the poor and set them free. Her defense of the earth and its poor was a true work of liberation. Like Jesus, she was killed for her work. But like Jesus, she is rising in her people and in the land.”
Each of us has an important role to play in the history of salvation. We are the disciples, those who see through the eyes of faith our risen Savior in our midst. We see through the eyes of faith his wounded hands and feet.
Just as he opened the disciples’ minds, Jesus opens our minds, and we are called to testify, to live out the ministry of Jesus in our own lives, no matter what the cost—to be witnesses of the resurrection as we walk the way to salvation, freedom and peace in the way that we conduct our own lives.
God calls us to go out charged with the positive love that Jesus showed for all of humanity and for all of creation in his own life, death and resurrection. God calls us to witness to God’s love in this world, no matter where our paths lead.
“Alleluia, alleluia, go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.”
“Thanks be to God, Alleluia, alleluia!”