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An Easter sermon

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Fr. Mike Paraniuk

By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church (Hillsboro,
St. Benignus Catholic Church (Greenfield),
Saint Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church (Peebles)
Holy Trinity Catholic Church (West Union)

A young couple chose a beautiful old country church for their wedding. Majestic trees and yellow daffodils decorated the front lawn. With such a beautiful setting the photographer suggested he take pictures of the happy couple outside. They wedding party gathered on the front lawn where the sun shined brightly upon them.

The photographer took picture after picture of the couple kissing while the groomsmen and bridesmaids gazed at them approvingly. The setting was so romantic the photographer knew he struck pay dirt. He could sell them every picture he took. Cha-ching!

With the ceremony complete, he rushed home to his dark room to develop the pictures. When he saw the first picture, he grew concerned. With each developed picture, his heart sank. He could not use any of these photos. He called the bride to explain the problem. He said, "Each photo included the church sign on the front lawn. The sign ruined everything."

The bride asked, "What did the sign say?"

He replied, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."

Have you ever wondered what did John and Peter see that made them believe? What was so different about this tomb that made them realize Jesus resurrected? What they saw was the burial bands that wrapped the body of Jesus were never unwrapped. The bands remained in the shape of His body but there was no body inside.

Those bands were soaked in 100 pounds of spices. They should have fell flat, but didn't. There was no way the Body of Jesus was stolen. Peter and John understood what Jesus did. Jesus "passed through" those bands without disturbing them. The head wrapping was also undisturbed. Later on, Jesus would pass through a wall in the upper room to visit His Apostles who were hiding.

Jesus also took a picture of Himself when He resurrected. The intense light generated when He resurrected left His image on the burial cloth. The cloth with His picture is in Turin, Italy. Think of it. Jesus took the very first selfie!

What does this mean for us today? It means this. If Jesus could pass through 100 pounds of spiced-soaked burial bands, if Jesus could walk through walls, if Jesus could appear anywhere He wanted, don't you think Jesus would have no problem coming into your life? He could easily walk through your walls of fear that trap you. He could easily appear in the midst of your troubles. Jesus can walk through any storm to right your boat when the waves threaten to sink you.

There is only one thing you must do. All you have to do is ASK. Jesus is very polite. He won't barge into your life unless you invite Him. God says it very simply, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13.)

There are some here today who may only get to church on Christmas and Easter. It makes God happy that you are here. But God is a loving God who wants you to visit Him more often. What if a rich guy came to you said, "I will give you millions of dollars tax free. All you have to do is to visit me at my home for one hour a week and thank me."

I would be breaking down his door to get in. Jesus offers so much more than money. He wants to help you get through life. We go to church to thank Him. The more you put Jesus in your life, the more He will give you His gifts. We call grace – God's Love in action. I go to church to get "recharged" to live another week. Life can wear me down at times. I recharge my phone. I recharge my Apple watch. I recharge my hearing aids. I recharge my car. Shouldn't I recharge my soul as well? Thanking God for loving me is the fastest recharge I know.

There is a quote that reads, "Earth’s saddest day and gladdest day were just three days apart."

Invite Him in. Jesus won't wait long to make you happy. Happy Easter.

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