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Rt. Rev. Msgr. Patrick J. Perez
511 N. Clementine St.
Anaheim, CA 92805
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Sermon for the Third Sunday after Easter, May 15, 2011 by Fr. Smith

 The Third Sunday after Easter (Saint John Baptiste de la Salle)

Has Anyone Seen the Easter Bunny Lately?

Alleluia! Resurrexit! Alleluia! Sicut dixit! Alleluia! Alleluia! He is Risen! Alleluia! As He said! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Jesus is still Emmanuel— God is still with us. Jesus is still Risen! Alleluia! As He said! Alleluia! Jesus is still the Lord of lords!

But where is the Easter Bunny right now? A few weeks ago he was bouncing all over the place. Where is he now? Can you see him behind the wilted Mothers’ Day flowers? Is he hiding beneath the Memorial Day bunting that will go on the picnic tables in a few weeks? Maybe you can hear him feebly hopping down the bunny trail hoping to escape being mistaken for a deer and getting himself shot. You say it’s not dear season? Well, it ain’t bunny season, either, buddy!

It is the Easter Season! Alleluia! It is Paschaltide! Alleluia! It is the Feast of Victory of Jesus, the Risen Lord, over death. Alleluia! It is the Feast of Victory of Jesus, the Son of God, over sin! Alleluia! It is the Feast of Victory of Jesus, the Son of Mary, over the devil! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

One of the infinite number of things that is so wonderful about being Catholic is that we never tire of our celebrations. Christmas lasts forty days. Easter lasts fifty days. Life with God lasts one Endless Day! Pity the poor worldlings who have already forgotten their Easter Bunny. Pity the poor worldlings who have already forgotten who won the NCAA tournament — men’s or women’s version. Pity the poor worldlings who have already forgotten their Baptismal promises to reject satan, his works, his glamours, and his empty promises. I suppose it is appropriate for a worldling to forget his Baptismal promises since by doing so he enters into the service of the evil one who keeps no promises and the promises he makes are all empty nothings, just like the souls become of his sorry slaves.

One of the infinite number of things that is so wonderful about being Catholic is that we need never fear the things that assailed man before the Advent of Emmanuel and His Victory on Good Friday. We need not fear sin because the grace of the Sacraments abounds in the Church to protect us, to strengthen us in temptations, and to forgive us after our falls. We need not fear death because Jesus has overcome death by His Cross and Resurrection. We need not fear the world, the flesh, or the devil because Jesus has overcome the world, the Spirit of God rules the children of the Kingdom in the Church, and the Immaculate Conception has crushed the infernal serpent’s head beneath Her beautiful Feet. Pity the poor worldlings who are afraid of Osama bin Laden now because they have forgotten that they were afraid of Saddam Hussein just a few years ago. Pity the poor worldlings who are afraid of global warming now because they have forgotten that they were afraid of a new ice age just thirty years ago. Pity the poor worldlings who are afraid of obesity now because they have forgotten to fear AIDS or Ebola or SARS or swine flu or bird flu or one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Pity the poor worldlings who think the world is going to end next Saturday and won’t be ready for it because they will die tomorrow – and then forever.

The Easter Bunny has gone the way of all flesh for yet another year. Swine flu vaccination hysteria has gone on vacation for another year. And the world has taken permanent leave of its senses as it careens from one empty thrill to the next terror strike to the final descent into the oblivion for which it so energetically yearns with all of its insistence on abortion, its persistence in marriages made sterile through contraception and abominable acts fraudulently called making love, and its bizarre fixation on dignified death by way of being put to sleep just like the pet dog, cat, or boa constrictor. Whatever the world thinks it has today, it will lose tomorrow, including the tomorrow it’s living like isn’t coming so they make a mess of today.

But thanks be to God! Jesus is Risen! Alleluia! As He said! Alleluia! And Jesus isn’t going anywhere!…’Wait, Father,” you might say. “Isn’t the Feast of the Ascension less than twenty days from now? Isn’t Jesus going to leave us then?”

One of the infinite number of things that is so wonderful about being Catholic is that we worship the only omnipotent God. God can become man and live on earth without leaving Heaven. God can die as a man and yet remain alive as God. God can rise from the dead – which He has! Alleluia! As He said! Alleluia! Alleluia! – and return to Heaven without leaving the earth.

God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth!

Jesus promised not to leave us orphans. Jesus promised to be with us unto the end of the world. Jesus promised that where His Bride the Church is so also He will be. It is expedient that Jesus go back to Heaven in two weeks’ time, because by doing so He will send the Holy Ghost from His Father. It is good that Jesus will ascend to His Father and Our Father, to His God and Our God, because that way the Holy Ghost shall come to dwell with us and in His Love we shall live in the Love of the Father and the Son. It is a greater blessing that Jesus returns to Heaven, invisible to our eyes, because by so doing He offers the greater grace that by Faith, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, we may believe that He is yet present, yet powerful, yet Risen from the dead. If Jesus going to Heaven is what it takes for us to be able to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, then Deo Gratias! I am glad that Jesus is leaving because God is still in His Heaven and His Grace is still at work upon His earth! If Jesus returning to Heaven is what it takes for the Church to be established in the power of the Holy Ghost

that the Gospel might be heard unto the ends of the earth, then Deo Gratias! I am glad that Jesus is leaving because God is still in His Heaven and His Grace is still at work upon His earth! If Jesus invisible in Heaven is yet more present to us in the Spirit of God on earth, then Deo Gratias! I am gladbthat Jesus is leaving because the invisible God by His Grace will see to it that we see Him face-to-Face in Heaven as He once showed His Face to us in His Life, Death, and Resurrection upon His earth!

Let this be our attitude all the days of our life: Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia! Whatever happens in this life is known from all eternity by God and He has already determined how to use it so as to bring us to Him in our Home in Heaven. Nothing can happen that God can’t use for our salvation — except despair, hate, and impenitence. If you hope, love, and seek mercy, all will redound to God’s greater glory, and God glories in making Saints on earth fit for Eternal Life in Heaven. So rejoice and be glad: Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to be Baptized and obey the teachings and rituals of the Church? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to embrace the dull, dissatisfying, difficult life you have lived since birth? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to admit that you married someone who is not the Blessed Virgin Mary or Saint Joseph – and your spouse must say the same thing? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven

and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia! *

The only way to Heaven is to obey two people who are very much not the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph — and they are certain that they are not raising the Christ Child? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to go to seminary for five years and sift through a bunch of half truths disguised as sophisticated wisdom, and then be ordained for a diocese that eventual declares bankruptcy because it is too sophisticated to be bothered to enforce the moral law? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to have friends half a continent away, to have friends that seem to enjoy having enemies, to have enemies that wish you were friends, and to be your own worst enemy because you fail to be friendly to your friends and your enemies? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to belong to a Church whose leaders seem to wish to belong to any Church of which you are not a member? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to be a citizen in a land that calls murder, depravity, and theft virtues, and accuses you of crimes because you respect life, love your spouse, and desire the blessings of holy poverty? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to admit that you deserve hell, but to be confident that the Church of God, the Mother of God, the Love of God, the Son of God, and the Father of God all want you in Heaven? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

The only way to Heaven is to love this life only because its end is meant to be Heaven? Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia!

Let me say it one more time: Deo Gratias.’ God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia! No, that wasn’t enough. Again: Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia! Don’t stop saying Deo Gratias! God is in His Heaven and His Grace is at work upon His earth! Alleluia! until you are no longer on earth, but by the Grace of God you are in Heaven singing Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! For ever and ever. Amen! Alleluia!

Posted on May 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

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