April 14, 2024

3rd Sunday of Easter – Bill Harkins

In the name of the God of Creation who loves us all. Amen.

Good Morning and welcome to Holy Family on this the 3rd Sunday of Easter! I’m so glad you are joining us today.       

In this chapter of our lives at Holy Family, I find myself empathizing with the Disciples in ways perhaps new for me. Maybe you do so as well. We know they have been scared, and in the reading for today, they don’t recognize Jesus when he appears. Begging the question, when we are in a season of uncertainty and transition, can we recognize Christ in the face of the other, our sisters and brothers, and can we remain relatively non-anxious enough to lead with wisdom, and resilience? And, let’s remember we have only recently emerged from an unprecedented time of social distancing and quarantine, and we’ve all been on a post-pandemic journey of sorts. One of our daughters-in-law is an epidemiologist with the CDC, now working remotely from Houston, and so I pay attention to CDC notices of various kinds. Not only are we all still adjusting to life after the pandemic, we are also in what the Surgeon General has called an “epidemic of loneliness,” exacerbated by the pandemic and the real and ambiguous losses, as well as the anticipatory grief and anxiety we all feel to varying degrees. We are also in a season of political discord which,

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April 7, 2024

Second Sunday of Easter – Bill Harkins

The Collect of the Day: Second Sunday of Easter

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel: John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,

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March 31, 2024

Easter Sunday – George Yandell

One day, three men were walking along and came upon a raging, violent river. They needed to get across to the other side, but had no idea how to do it. The first man prayed to God saying, “Please, God, give me the strength to cross this river.” Poof! God gave the man big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours.

Seeing this, the second man prayed to God, saying, “Please, God, give me the strength and ability to cross this river.” Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about three hours.

The third man, seeing how things had worked out for the other two, also prayed to God, saying, “Please, God, give me the strength and ability and intelligence to cross this river.” And poof! God turned him into a woman; she looked at the map, then walked across the bridge.

Humor aside, the prominence of women as the initial ones to experience the power of Easter cannot be denied. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first to hear the angel say, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised”.

These two Marys were among the brave women who had watched Jesus die his agonizing death. They had followed his lifeless corpse to mark the place where it was entombed by Joseph of Arimathea.

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March 29, 2024

Good Friday – George Yandell

Forty years before the birth of Jesus, Rome’s first heated swimming pool was built on the Esquiline Hill, just outside the city’s ancient walls. The location was a prime one. In time it would become a showcase for some of the wealthiest people in the world.[From Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, Tom Holland, Basic Books, New York, 2019, pp. 21- 24]

Not far from the Esquiline, it took a long time to reclaim the Sessoriumfor gentrification. Years later the vultures still wheeled over that site. This remained what it had always been: The place set aside for the execution of slaves. Exposed to public view like slabs of meat hung from a market stall, troublesome slaves were nailed to crosses.

No death was more excruciating, more contemptable, than crucifixion. To be hung naked, ‘long in agony, swelling with ugly welts on shoulders and chest’, helpless to beat away the clamorous birds: such a fate Roman intellectuals agreed, was the worst imaginable. This was what made it so suitable a punishment for slaves. Lacking such a sanction, the entire order of the city might fall apart. Luxury and splendor such as Rome could boast were dependent on keeping those who sustained it in their place. [ibid]

As Tacitus wrote, “After all, we have slaves drawn from every corner of the world in our households, practicing strange customs, and foreign cults, or none—it is only by means of terror that we can hope to coerce such scum.”

The Romans were reluctant to believe crucifixion had originated with them. Only a barbarous people could have developed such savage,

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