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The Everlasting Today of God

From Pope Francis' Homily at the Easter Vigil:

Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; Jesus is the everlasting today of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you dear sister, for you dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you wont be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, dont be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.

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No flowery hyperbole. No self referential. All you, you, you......Proclamation of the Lord Jesus.

I think that Pope Francis is speaking from his own experience of the risen Lord and that is what makes his homily so authentic.

It might have been just my imagination but it seems to me that there were double the number of people in church today than is usual. Did you all notice a lot more where you were? Yes, Easter usually has more people, but not this many. Plus last week I thought that there were a good number more too, and today the church was 3/4 full. This hasn't happened in years. Most encouraging, most of the people were definitely young ones -- hardly a head of gray hair in the bunch. I counted only 5 gray-heads in front of me. Of course, the pews were so thick with people that I couldn't see everyone in front of me.I can't help but wonder if Pope Frances is already having a huge effect. When he first appeard after the election it took only about 5 minutes for me to be thoroughly captivated. Now I'm afraid I'm just wishful thinking, that he is really just a great communicator and showman. On the other hand I find it hard to believe that there isn't a saintly man behind his touching gestures and inspired little homilies.

In this homily Pope Francis also said not to be afraid of change:"In his homily, Pope Francis described the situation created when something completely new and unexpected happens. "We stop short, we dont understand, we dont know what to do, the Pope said, because newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of Gods surprises; we are afraid of Gods surprises! He always surprises us!"http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/I wonder if he said this by way of preparing the faithful for some doctrine and discipline surprises.

"Let us return to the Gospel, to the women...."This is almost old news by now, but he is a genuinely gifted preacher. I can't think of anything I've read yet that hasn't made me want to print it out and go over it a few times.

I found the following sentence in the Pope's Easter Sunday Orbi et Urbi message interesting:"We too, like the women who were Jesus' disciples, who went to the tomb and found it empty, may wonder what this event means. (cf. Lk24:2)" (The Vatican's English translation.)The Italian original seems to me to make the idea of the women as disciples even stronger:"Anche noi, come le donne discepole di Gesu', che andarono al sepolcro e lo trovarono vuoto, possiamo domandarci che senso abbia questo avvenimento. (cf. Lc24,2)"But perhaps I am over-reading at this late hour.

"This is almost old news by now, but he is a genuinely gifted preacher. I cant think of anything Ive read yet that hasnt made me want to print it out and go over it a few times."I concur with Catherine O. This is a new experience and very moving.Barry and Ann Ulanov wrote that a congregation can tell almost by a primitive sense of smell when a preacher is reaching to the depths with his own god-images and his own relationship to God. Authentic, powerful.