Not By Force, Nor Violence, But By Love


Easter 2019

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: April 21, 2019

Only love can bring true change for good.  In our world, in our church, in our families, in any person.  Only love can bring true change for good.

God did not use force, or violence, or power to bring about change.  In fact, in Jesus we see God letting go of all force, all power, dying on a cross in a way of non-violence.  In the

Resurrection we see the victory of love.  It is not seen in the news, not recognized by most people, yet in the Resurrection we see that love changes and transforms history and our future.

God does not change us or change the world by force or violence or power.  But, through love brings about the change that we celebrate at Easter as we celebrate the Resurrection.

Mary Magdalene is a key person and first to witness to the Resurrection.  As first to experience the Resurrection and to witness to it, she is often referred to as the Apostle to the Apostles.  Mary Magdalene loved Jesus.

So, at his death, she is grieving, sad, lost, she is seen weeping.  Yet, it was this love of Jesus that eventually allowed her to see beyond the suffering, beyond the loss, beyond the darkness.  She meets the Risen Lord Jesus and sees the work of God’s love in the midst of the great darkness of that moment.

You and I as disciples of Jesus are called to change ourselves, to change the world.  We are to challenge and upset the world.  But, not by force, not by violence, not by power.  We Christians must reject violence and force as a way to change others or to change the world.  Like our God, we must only strive to bring change in others or in the world by the way of love.

Many grandparents, parents, spouses come to me sad about a grandchild or child or spouse who is no longer practicing their faith.  They wish they could do something to change this person that they love.  But, I have to remind them that we cannot bring someone to faith by force, by criticism, by power.  I encourage them to pray for that person, pray for them with a heart full of love.  Then love that person with a great love.  For only love is able to bring change and lead people into the heart of God.

Mary Magdalene had such a great love for Jesus, you and I are called to the same deep love of Jesus.  Then like Mary we will be able to see everyone and see all with the eyes of God.  Then we will not become lost in evil, in darkness, in injustice, in suffering, in death.  Like Mary we will see beyond all of these to the love and goodness of God.

The key to living joyfully in this world, even when faced with darkness and difficulties, is to fall in love with Jesus, with your whole heart.  Then you will see in a new way.  The key to assisting others to find God in their life is to love them with all your heart.

The death and Resurrection of Jesus shows us the way of God, that force, violence, power cannot bring about change for good, only love can bring about true change for good.

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