4 April 2021
Acts of the Apostles 10: 34a, 37-43
Colossians 3: 1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5: 6b-8
John 20: 1-9
Sunday Reading – click here
Comedian Billy Crystal tells a story on himself. He was in an airport coffee shop and a woman came up to him and said, “You know, you look a lot like Billy Crystal. Has anybody ever told you that before?” “Oh, yes!” he said. “Well, you’re not Billy Crystal are you?” He played along with her and just smiled. And then she said, “I really didn’t think so, but you should have his money!”
Mistaken identity is oftentimes quite funny and may have happened to you. But this feast of Easter is not about mistaken identity. It’s all about certain identity.
The followers of Jesus were absolutely convinced that Jesus who had died on the cross on Good Friday is the very same Jesus who rose from the dead on Easter Sunday morning. They were so convinced of His certain identity that they staked their own lives and their living upon it.
That faith of those early believers has come down to us. It is the same Jesus in whom we believe.
I want to offer a special word of welcome to all of you from Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes, and those who are with us from other parishes. We are glad that you are here!
I also want to offer a special welcome to anyone who may be looking for a church family to belong to. We would be glad to have you as part of our St. Joseph and Nativity Parish Families!
And I also want to offer a very personal word of welcome to anyone here today who hasn’t been to church in a while. I am glad that you are here. Welcome home to everyone as we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord’s Resurrection.
One of the hope-filled messages that our merciful Jesus gives is that we can always begin again. He is the Lord of the fresh start.
There was a man who lived in a small town and he drank heavily for years. He had brought shame and hardship to his family. With the help of God and the help of others he embraced a life of sobriety. He left his drinking buddies, but sometimes they would just show up to taunt him.
One of them asked, “Do you really believe that Jesus changed water into wine at that wedding feast in Cana?” The man responded, “I wasn’t there, but if that’s what the Bible says, I believe it. But I can tell you this: in my own house Jesus has changed booze and beer into groceries and clothing for my family. Isn’t that at least as great a miracle?”
Well isn’t it? There are miracles that take place all around us, big and small, because of Jesus. Sometimes we miss them, but He helps us to open our eyes and be aware of His presence.
There was a woman who said to her insurance agent, “You know, I’ve got to quit paying on this policy. Money has really gotten tight since my husband died two years ago.”
The agent looked at the policy. She was entitled to several hundred thousand dollars in life insurance from her husband. She was very wealthy but she didn’t even know it!
We are wealthy in God’s grace and God’s blessings, but sometimes we don’t even realize how blessed we are. We stand in a long line of believers in Jesus Christ. It is not mistaken identity. It is certain identity. They believed and so do we that the Jesus who died on Calvary for our sins is the same Jesus who rose on Easter Sunday that we might have eternal life. And we stake our lives and our living on this faith.
I will leave you today with a stanza from a hymn written by Bill and Gloria Gaither:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.
Happy Easter, everyone!