top of page
  • Writer's pictureFr. Paul MacNeil

Easter Sunday 2023 Homily

Time goes too fast, our children grow up too quickly, and time sometimes won't wait. I'm reminded of Jim Croce's Time in a Bottle:


If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I'd like to do

Is to save every day 'til eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you


If I could make days last forever

If words could make wishes come true

I'd save every day like a treasure, and then

Again, I would spend them with you


I wonder if that’s exactly the message that Jesus was trying to give us at the last supper when he knew that his time with his disciples, his time on earth was drawing to a close.


It’s a beautiful image, to save time in a bottle. We confront this with our children because they grow up so fast. You want time to stand still. But isn’t the resurrection of Jesus a way to make sure time does stand still? Maybe not in a material way, but in a spiritual way, as we hope to live beyond death? Couldn’t this be the real message underneath the resurrection of Jesus, that he is not only the lord of life but also of time?


Think for a moment about how we measure time - the three basic categories we use - Yesterday, today and tomorrow. On the one hand, these three periods of time are very very specific, down to the last millisecond.


Yesterday refers to a 24-hour period on, in this case, April 7th, Good Friday or Holy Saturday. Friday is not yesterday, neither is Monday.

Today refers to a 24-hour period that began exactly at 12:01 am.

Tomorrow refers also to a specific day in the calendar.


We need these time frames to function. But there is, of course, a more metaphorical meaning to the words yesterday, today and tomorrow, and these metaphorical meanings are actually as close to absolute as we can get - they don’t ever change.


What happened in the past is gone forever, you cannot get it back, and we refer to that as yesterday. Yesterday you celebrated a birthday, graduated from college, got married, and had a child. Yesterday world war II began and ended, your close friend passed away, and Jesus was also born in Bethlehem and was crucified. The Bible was written yesterday, even though all these things are still with us today in our memories.


Tomorrow is also a metaphor - When we refer to tomorrow, we refer just to something that hasn’t happened yet. It’s under the same category as hopes and dreams. I know in the future I’m going to retire, your kids are going to get married and they’re going to retire! And at some point, we are going to take our last breath. We have no idea when that will be so we place it in that very broad metaphorical category called “tomorrow.”

But what about today? Today is different. Today you are alive and experience reality in all its pain and all its glory. What is the most important thing in your life today? How are you going to live your life “today?” Who are you going to love “today?” What did Jesus mean when he said “Today this prophecy is being fulfilled in your hearing.” Or the psalm, 400 years before that - “if today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.”


I would like to suggest that the resurrection of Jesus which we celebrate today is exactly that: it is something that is happening today, right now. Were not our hearts burning within us? Said the disciples on the road to Emmaus when they failed to recognize Jesus, perhaps because they were still dwelling on yesterday worrying about tomorrow. Our hearts burn within us when we realize that today, this moment has been sanctified by the resurrection of Christ, which also sanctifies that world of yesterday and makes real the hope that we have of tomorrow.


You see, there is a fourth timeframe that we must also acknowledge and accept. that time frame is eternity and it embraces love and affection both yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is filled with life and goodness and nothing can ever take that away. It’s as if at the last supper, Jesus looked at his friends and said “If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do, is to save every day ‘til eternity passes away, just to spend them with you.” Jesus puts time in a bottle, and it’s a beautiful vintage, and the label on that bottle says simply this: “eternity.” It’s not the bottle that’s important it’s what’s in it. This is Jesus' message for you today and for eternity: He wants you to open that bottle, drink it up and share it with those around you. Jesus loves you and wants to spend eternity with you. And in the resurrection, today, he calls to you and sings to you:


If I could make days last forever

If words could make wishes come true

I'd save every day like a treasure, and then

Again, I would spend them with you

22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Homily, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Are you wearing the right robe? I've always had difficulty with today's Gospel. On the one hand, we have a wonderful sense of the generosity of God as represented by the king: He couldn't get anyone t

Homily, 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What does it mean to be a rebel? I was passing by a bus top the other day, and there was a fairly large group of people waiting for the bus, and every one of them was tethered to their phones. Maybe t

Homily for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Gunther

There is a story about a man being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy street. Suddenly the traffic light turned yellow just in front of him. The man stopped at the crosswalk even though he

bottom of page