Donec dies inlucescat
in cordibus vestris.
(2 Pet. 1,19)
Sermon for the third Sunday after Easter
God shows the light of His truth as the collect of this Mass says. This is the little blazing light of the paschal candle we have seen during Easter Vigil from which we lighted all other candles. This symbolizes the souls of the faithful enlightened by the truth of Jesus resurrected and who are the light of the world. For those who have been baptized and received the title of Christians, this is such a gift from God for which they must be thankful. The others, who are still in the darkness, need the light of God to return into the way of righteousness, as the collect asserts.
At the very beginning of the Creation, God made the light, which was good as He saw, and separated the light from the darkness. At the very end of time, Christ, who is the light of the Nations, will separate the sheep from the goats, according to His mission of Good Shepherd as we saw last Sunday. Only the sheep will be introduced to the eternal pasturelands while the goats will definitively cast away into the darkness.
At the very beginning, God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. The very last Day of this world will be the Day of the Lord, the Day of His visitation and the Day of the Judgment. The first Christians waited for this Day with Hope as we should also do. There is no reason to fear for the Disciples of Christ. It will be the Day of glory for them. For the others, it might be a Day of confusion and of reprobation, in fact, a night rather than a day.
Between the beginning and the end, is the course of time. In the center, is a major event, which is a renewal of the Day of the Creation and an anticipation of the Last Day; this is the Day of the Resurrection. The week of Easter is totally impregnated with this verse of the Psalm 117 used every day as a Gradual during Mass or as an Antiphon during the Divine Office: Haec Dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et laetemur in ea - This is the day which the Lord has made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.
Pope John Paul II gave a commentary of this Psalm during the general audience of February 12th 2003. I would like to connect this commentary with the collect of today. This Psalm is a hymn of confidence and gratitude to the Lord. The verse 22 refers to the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ: The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner. Christ is this stone, the rock! Pope John Paul II quotes Saint Ambrose: We will therefore let St Ambrose guide our meditation with his Exposition of the Gospel according to Luke. Commenting on Peter's profession of faith at Cesarea Philippi, he recalls that "Christ is the Rock" and that "Christ did not refuse to give this beautiful name to his disciple so that he too might be Peter, and find in the rock the firmness of perseverance, the steadfast solidity of the faith".
Ambrose then introduces the exhortation: "Try hard also to be a rock. However, to do this, do not seek the rock outside yourself but within yourself. Your rock is your actions, your rock is your thoughts. On this rock your house is built, so that it may never be battered by any storm of the evil spirits. If you are a rock, you will be inside the Church because the Church is on the rock. If you are inside the Church, the gates of hell will not prevail against you"
Christ is the Rock. We, as Christians, are other Christ. Today, the Church prays and intercedes for us: grant to all those who profess themselves Christians to reject those things which are contrary to that name, and follow such things as are agreeable to the same. We can reject the things which are contrary to the name of Christian precisely by becoming a rock. This presupposes a total fidelity to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church, with no compromise with the world.
Dear Brethren, we have to be strong, because it is easy to choose the side of the world; it is much easier than choosing the camp of the Saints. The world shall rejoice! These are the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel. The world shall rejoice! It shall rejoice, because it knows only the terrestrial joys. But it also shall rejoice at our tribulations. Being a Christian means to be a stone rejected by the builders of the world. Look, Europe has already disowned its Christian roots! Say something not politically correct against the Jews or the Muslims, and you will be taken to the Court. Say or do something against the Christians, especially against the Catholics, nobody cares. A new world is built since the French Revolution. And this new world doesn’t want Jesus Christ. The darkness want to recover its territories. It seems that Jesus has gone. It is a profound sadness for his disciples. But let them don’t forget his words: Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
We are waiting for the Day of the Lord which will come soon. Jesus attests it through the pen of Saint John at the end of the Apocalypse: Surely I come quickly. The answer of the faithful is Amen! Come Lord Jesus! (Ap 22,20)
A true disciple of Jesus loves Him and wants to see Him. May Our Lady give us this love and desire. May she help us to keep his words until the Day when He will come again. Saint Peter tells us with beautiful words: And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. – Donec dies inlucescat et Lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris.(2 P 1, 19)
Let us live with the Hope of this day, which could be today, if we listen to the voice of God and are faithful to it. Hodie si vocem eius audieritis nolite obdurare corda vestra - Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Ps 94)… because the Day of the Lord is already…today!