St. Dominic Catholic Church

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Baptized Into the Eternal God-Easter 2022 Fr. Roberto

Homily for Easter Sunday 
Fr. Roberto Corral, OP
St. Dominic’s Church, Eagle Rock, CA
April 17, 2022 

Title: Baptized into the Eternal God

Theme:  We are baptized into the eternal God who triumphed over death.

I am sure that most of you have heard of Bishop Robert Barron. He is one of our regional bishops here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles up in the Santa Barbara area, and he is well known for his many videos on YouTube about the Catholic faith and for his Word on Fire Institute. I hope many of you have seen his great videos. Well, a number of years ago, he gave a talk, and the title of it caught my attention; it was, “I Agree with the Atheists.” I thought, “Whoa, a Catholic bishop agrees with atheists? I’ve got to hear this!” So, I went to the talk, and this is basically what he said. 

When most atheists say they don’t believe in God, they are talking about a god who is simply some big, physical, super-being out there in the universe whom we human beings should be able to detect and measure by some kind of physical evidence and by scientific investigation or experimentation. And Bishop Barron said, “I agree with these atheists because that is not the God I believe in either.” Bishop Barron’s point was that our Christian God is not just some big, super-being that can be measured or detected by science; he is not just another thing in this universe among all the other things like the stars, galaxies and black holes. 

No, our Christian God is being itself, the very ground of all existence, who is outside of the universe since he created it, who is outside of time and space, who cannot be measured or detected by our puny human minds; who, as St. Augustine said in the 5th century, is beyond anything we can even imagine. That is the God in whom we Christians believe. Amen? Amen!

But, at the same time, the God we believe in, the God we celebrate in our Catholic Christian faith throughout the entire year and, especially on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and today, is also 
the God who became one of us, who lived among us, and who suffered and died for us 2,000 years ago. And our God did all these things for one reason: because he loves us. That means that our God is also not just some ambiguous, impersonal force like electricity or gravity or like the “force” in the Star Wars movies. Rather, our infinite, eternal, all-powerful God is a person who loves every single human being – from Vladimir Putin to you and me – because our God is love. God doesn’t just have love; God doesn’t just give love; God is love! Amen? Amen!

As we just celebrated on Good Friday, Jesus, who is the God through whom and for whom everything was created, chose to experience the fullness of our human life, including suffering and death: a horrific death at the hands of the very creatures he had created. Jesus went through Good Friday to show us just how much he loves us, that he loves us enough to suffer and die for each one of us. But, of course, the story doesn’t end there. God’s love doesn’t end there. God’s love raised Jesus from the dead because God’s love is not just tender, compassionate and merciful; God’s love is also powerful. It is powerful enough to create the universe, and it is powerful enough to overcome all hatred, sin, evil and even death.

My brothers and sisters, this is what we celebrate today on Easter. Easter is not about Easter bunnies or Easter eggs or wearing a pretty new dress or going to Easter brunch. All those things are great and fun and it is okay to enjoy them. But Easter is not about any of them. Easter is about Jesus rising from the dead, and by raising Jesus from the dead, God shows us that love will always win. God shows us that that Good Friday, i.e., that hatred, sin, evil, suffering and death do not have the last word. God has the last word, and, therefore, life has the last word; therefore, love has the last word. Jesus did not overcome evil by attacking it with violence; Jesus overcame evil by loving it to death. 

And, in this way Jesus shows us the path and pattern that we must follow in our lives. He showed us that we too must somehow embrace the suffering and death that comes into our lives, not because God is punishing us, but because that is the only way he can transform us. If we want to experience the fullness of God’s love for us, we have to die to ourselves and let go of everything within us that is not of God. If we want to experience the new life and joy of Easter resurrection, 
we also have to be willing to experience the darkness, suffering and death of Good Friday. The process of our transformation is always death transformed, not death avoided; it is not death or resurrection, it is death and resurrection; it is Good Friday and Easter.

Everything I have said so far is so important for us to understand in terms of our faith. Because everything that I have said so far means that when you and I were baptized, however long ago that was, we were not simply baptized into our local parish; we were not just baptized into the Catholic Church, nor just into our Christian faith. We were baptized into the very heart, into the very life of our God who is love. At your baptism, you were immersed into the mystery of this God who is infinitely beyond you, and, at the same time, who is closer to you than you are to yourself; the God who loved you into existence, who has walked with you at every moment of your life, the God who died for you and your sins on Good Friday and rose on Easter Sunday; the God who called you to that moment of your baptism where you died and rose with him, and where he said to you: “You are mine, and I am yours…forever.” 

For all of us who are here at Mass today or watching online, this Easter celebration is an opportunity for us to strengthen and deepen our baptism. It is an opportunity for us to agree with the atheists and proclaim that our God is not just some big, super-being or simply an impersonal force in the universe, but rather that he is being itself, that he is beyond anything we can imagine and, at the same time, that he is a person who loves us and who is closer to us than we are to ourselves. This is our chance to recommit ourselves to our God who claimed us at our baptism and to say back to him, “Yes, Lord, you are mine, and I am yours…forever.” 

This is our opportunity to say a heartfelt “thank you” to the God who died for our sins and rose from the dead; to say, “I do believe,” to the God who says to us, “This is my Body…this is my blood” when we receive the Eucharist. Today is our opportunity to deepen our faith that our God walks with us in all of our struggles and that he will always bring us through these Good Fridays of our lives to the Easter of new life and new possibilities. Amen? Amen!