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Sermon Sunday April 7, 2024 Second Sunday of Easter
Lessons: Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 133
1 John 1:1-2:2
John 20:19-31
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.
Have you ever gotten some kind of oil or oily substance on
you, and there really was no way to get rid of that yucky,
sticky, or slippery feeling, especially if the oil was kind of
dirty? It’s not a very pleasant feeling, is it? In fact, it can just
be an all-around disaster.!

Every time that I read today’s Psalm, Psalm 133, I try to
imagine that the precious oil on the head that runs down
upon the beard, or the face, or the chin, is something
pleasant. I just can’t seem to get to that point though. I
imagine my head full of oil and cringe. So, this time, a little
bit of research seemed in order, to be able to understand this
psalm a bit better.

Olive oil was the most precious type of oil in ancient Israel.
It was used to soften the skin and other things that needed to
become pliant. It was used to light lamps, and, just like us, it was used in cooking. It also had cleansing properties. I have
sometimes seen oil used to get out sand that is stuck on or in
an object, so that makes sense. Also, think of the woman
who washed Jesus’ feet with the nard a little bit before his
crucifixion.

Oil was also considered to have healing properties. Olive oil
had many meanings for religious practices as well. When oil
was poured on a person or object, it meant that the person or
object was set apart for God. The person or object was
blessed, and therefore made holy. The person or the object
then was a person or object of God.

Remember also, the re-dedication of the Temple during the
time of the Maccabees. Lighting the menorah in the Temple,
for the re-dedication with oil that was supposed to last for
only one day, but miraculously lasted for eight days!
Ah…now I see, oil was a big, huge, enormous deal in
ancient Israel. We continue to use oil for anointing today in
the Church. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, we attended
the Chrism Mass where Bishop Hunn blessed the three types
of anointing oils that we use. There is the oil of the chrism
which is used for Baptism, Confirmation, Ordinations, and
the blessing of object. There is the oil of the catechumens which is used for those who are just beginning their journey
to Baptism, Confirmation, or even Reception into the
Church, and there is the Oil of the Unction for those who are
gravely ill, having an operation, or having a serious medical
diagnosis.

Therefore, precious olive oil being poured on the head was a
blessing, a dedication to God, and a symbol of healing.
This directly relates to our continued celebration of Easter,
of Jesus’ resurrection, this Second Sunday of Easter! Huh?
This pouring of oil was not just symbolic. It meant that the
person having the oil poured over their head experienced
this with their entire being. They felt it viscerally, with their
body, so they became acutely aware of the experience, of
being blessed and dedicated to God. That person knew it
with their entire being. It sunk into their body, we might
say. And it was a joyous occasion!

We may have been asked in our lives, how do we know that
Jesus Christ has risen from the dead? We place a lot of stock
in what we can see with our very own eyes. If I see it, I’ll
believe it, kind of like Thomas in today’s Gospel.

(Pass out the little tangerines to people after telling them to
keep their eyes closed during this part of the sermon.

DON’T OPEN YOU EYES! (have a bag to collect the
discarded tangerines.)
Take a moment and feel what you have been given. (Keep
repeating to not open your eyes!) Take a moment, and smell
what you have been given. Go ahead and taste what you
have been given—it’s okay! It’s not poisoned or nasty! Go
ahead and open your eyes! How did you know what the item
was that I had given to you? You used all of your senses.
You knew it because you felt it in your whole body. You
knew it because you felt it viscerally!

Seeing for people in the time of Jesus was more akin to
knowing, knowing with your whole being. And that is what
the First Letter of John is talking about in today’s Epistle. It
says, “WE declare to you what was from the beginning,
what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what
we have looked at and touched with our hands concerning
the word of life—” That is Jesus Christ, and his life, death,
and resurrection. The write of the First Letter of John knows
this through all of the senses, not just through the eyes. The
writer of the First Letter of John knows Jesus and his
resurrection viscerally—in the entire body.

And this is what we see in today’s Gospel from John, the
disciples, and then Thomas know that this is the risen
Christ. And that is how we know the risen Christ as well.
We know because we have seen it to be so. We see using all
of our senses. We know because we see, hear, feel and
touch. We see because we experience it viscerally, in our
whole body. And it you think you have never known Jesus
in this way, I am going to beg to differ with you.

You are here because you see him in the Eucharist. You are
here because you see him in this community of believers.
You are here because you know him through your life’s
experiences. You are not cheated of knowing him, even, and
if you only know it in your head.

So, what would it be like, or what is it like for us when we
say Jesus speaks to us and we hear? What does that sound
like to us? How does this happen for us? What would it be
like, or what is it like for us to touch Jesus? What would it
be like, or what is it like for us to see Jesus?

Perhaps it is when we speak in love to each other that these
words can be heard as Jesus’ words. Perhaps when we
perform acts of compassion andkindness, these acts can be
seen as Jesus’ acts of love. Perhaps it is when we receive Jesus in the Holy Communion, that we can feel Jesus’ love
for us. Perhaps it is when we advocate for Justice and peace
that the world can see Jesus’ love poured out for the entire
world.
So, how do you know that Jesus is risen? How do you know
that there is new life and light in Jesus? How do we as a
church community express this? How do we express this
knowing Jesus as a church community to the entire world?
Did we listen to our groans during Lent wo we would
know?

Like the unnamed individual in today’s psalm do we know
so our joy can be complete as the writer of the First Letter of
John says to us today? We know, so we can shout Jesus is
risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!