Homily for April 30, Saturday of the Octave of Easter
“It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” With these words, St Peter sums up the reason why he and the other apostles and followers of Christ put their very lives on the line to preach the Good News. Their experience of the risen Lord gives them an unflinching faith that salvation comes through Jesus, and through Him alone. Today’s Gospel reading from the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark, which summarizes the main appearances of Jesus to His friends and disciples, ends with the command to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature”. The apostles could not say “no” to this. God had revealed Himself to them in Christ, transformed their lives, and given them the promise of eternal life. Nothing can deter them from sharing this overriding hope and joy.
We have not had the same direct experience of the Lord’s humanity, but He truly is still with us, although in more hidden ways. We accompany Him from His birth to His death and resurrection through the readings and celebrations of the liturgical year. We hear His voice in the Scriptures, we converse with Him in prayer, and we receive Him in the Eucharist. We love Him by loving others, and we learn to recognize His providential presence in people and events that influence and guide our lives.
Today, as we continue to celebrate Easter, it is a good time for us to mentally write our own last chapter of Mark – to make a brief survey of our own experience of the risen Lord. He also asks us to live and share the Good News, each in our own way according to our state in life. Do we feel the same urgency and irresistible enthusiasm that St Peter expresses? Maybe we should also ask ourselves if we are really seeking that transforming experience of Christ in the ways available to us. We can do that if we are willing to love other more, and trust completely in the Lord.
The fact of being here at Mass shows that we do in fact seek Him and are willing to sacrifice our time to be with Him. With His help, may this attitude of faith and prayer penetrate every aspect of our lives more and more each day, so that we live in Him, for Him, and with Him. May it become impossible for us not to “declare the works of the Lord” that “we have seen and heard.”