From a homily on Easter Sunday, 4/1/2018
Catholicism is not boring. Easter Sunday captures the exhilaration of the faith. There is a great earthquake (cf. Matt 28:2). When Mary and the women see the empty tomb, and the angel inside, they are terrified (cf. Lk 24:5) and utterly amazed (cf.Mk 16:5). Mary, upon seeing the empty tomb, runs to tell Peter. She is overjoyed (cf. Matt 26:8). Peter and John, in turn, run to see it themselves (cf. Jn 20:4). When the two disciples on the road to Emmaus recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread, their hearts burn (cf. Lk 24:32). Earthquakes, terror, amazement, joy, running, and burning—all things inimical to boredom.
It is awesome to be religious. To put it idiomatically, it is cool to be Catholic. Ours is a heroic way of life.
There are so many examples of awesomeness from history; stories of amazing Catholics, stories that would inspire you, make you cry, make you want to come to Mass every day for the rest of your lives. Allow me to tell the latest, that of Colonel Arnaud Beltrame.
Beltrame, a French police officer and devout Catholic, died a week ago. His parish priest, Canon Jean-Baptiste, has testified to his friend's faith. In a letter Beltrame wrote four day before his death, Beltrame speaks of his commitment to Catholicism, his gratitude to Our Lady, his prayers to St. Michael for protection, and his inspiration from St. Joseph. Beltrame went on pilgrimages and retreats, attended Mass faithfully, and even made a small chapel in his home. He was to be married in the Catholic Church on June 9th to his beloved, Marielle. Instead, Marielle and Father Jean-Baptiste gathered last week for another sacrament: the Last Rites.
On March 23rd, an ISIS attacker killed two people in a supermarket in Trebes and took another woman hostage. Beltrame, at the scene, convinced the attacker to allow him to swap places with the hostage. Beltrame was taken and, after several hours Beltrame was then killed. Baptiste says, &ld It seems to me that only [Beltrame's] faith can explain the madness of this sacrifice which is today the admiration of all.”
This might seem like a sad story, too sad for Easter Sunday. But Beltrame, because of the Resurrection, is now living the fullness of life now in heaven. He was a Catholic and lived an awesome life. Catholicism is cool. Happy Easter.