Saturday, April 25, 2009

Homily / Sermon for Easter Three

A ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.

This is a remarkable and interesting story. Let me tell you why.

There are lots of stories that speak of ghosts and spirits, of the dead who live and are still present. From Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol to Harry Potter to television programmes to films and books there are so many stories that speak of the dead who come back to visit the living. Some stories are frightening - for adults - others are funny and intended for children.

Even so, in most of these stories, a ghost is not a good thing. They are shady and often malevolent. They are up to little good. Sometimes they seek vengeance. They can sometimes be seen, but mostly they are cut off, isolated from the physical world in some way. They are like a bad, musty smell. They are found particularly in darkness, in the old house with creaking floorboards, in distant spine tinglng screams.

Yet, these ideas, so familiar to us, may make it difficult to understand what is meant by Jesus’s rising from the dead, and what our own life after death might be like.

The Gospel makes it very clear that these ideas are far from reality.

Here, in this account, the Risen Jesus sits and eats with his friends. He talks with them and teaches them. This is no vision. They can see him and touch him. They can see the wounds which led to his death, but he is now alive again and meets with them.

This is no Ghost. He lives not in darkness, but in the light. And the risen life of Jesus is a physical life, with a real body and a presence which can touch and be touched.

And when we, through baptism, live now his risen life we live to value and cherish the world God has made, and the bodies he has given us. Here, in this world, we can already experience the life to come.

And when we try to understand life beyond this life, we know that finally it will be a physical life, when our souls are given new bodies,  in a new heaven and a new earth and we live for ever in his Presence.

No comments: