Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday Homily: Pleasure or Pain. Which do you choose first?

Mother Theresa carried one book with her at all times.  It was Fulton Sheen's the Life of Christ.  She read it constantly and encouraged all of her sisters to do so as well.  I highly encourage you to read it as well.

Fulton Sheen wonderfully describes Good Friday:

The world generally gives its best pleasures first; afterward come the dregs and the bitterness. But Christ reversed the order and gave us the feast after the fast, the Resurrection after the Crucifixion, the joy of Easter Sunday after the sorrow of Good Friday.

Isn't this so true?  Think about the pleasures the world offers and the "dregs and bitterness" that follow.  You drink to the point that you feel euphoric... you get a hangover.  You eat your favorite fast food, mmm... tastes great.... You get sick to your stomach and feel gross about yourself moments later.  You escape into Fantasy and self pleasure... instantly after the moment of satisfaction comes guilt and shame.  You feel the high that comes from a drug... your body becomes addicted and you need more or suffer withdrawal.  You engage in the pleasure of premarital sex, your relationship instantly becomes complicated and there's anxiety of pregnancy and sadness from giving  yourself away.

All of these at first intense pleasures so quickly followed by "dregs and bitterness."

"But Christ reversed the order and gave us the feast after the fast."

The idea is that if you fast first, if you wait until marriage, if you abstain from that which is not good for you, if you avoid the intoxication the world gives.  If you fast - you will experience the great feast.

What this means for us is that we can abstain from immediate pleasure (especially if it is sinful) knowing that a far greater pleasure will come, if not immediately after.  It means that any suffering that we encounter, if endured and not escaped, will be transformed into the Resurrection 

Jesus came to reverse the order.  If we suffer first we will experience pleasure and joy later.

This means that our suffering is not meaningless.  All of it can and will be transformed by God if we join ourselves to Christ.

Are you suffering in any way right now?  Have you had some tragedy in your past that caused you great suffering?  It is not without meaning and it is not without purpose.

Though we may not know or understand it now, God can and will work through it, not only for your redemption, but for the redemption of the World.

Your suffering is not in vein.

Christ reverses the order and gives us the Feast after the Fast.

These past 40 days of fasting during lent have hopefully helped free you to more thoroughly enjoy the pleasure of Easter and ultimately the unbelievable ecstasy that we will experience in the Resurrection 

Easter Sunday ALWAYS follows Good Friday.

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