EASTER Morning Homily — An Eclipse On the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Happy Easter! welcome all of you to St. Stephen the Martyr on this glorious and joyful day.  As Pope St. John Paul II said “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!

Last night at the Easter Vigil, we heard this powerful reading from the Book of Genesis about God in His Act of Creation.

When God created the fish of the sea-  God addressed himself to the water. He spoke to the water – let the waters bring forth an abundance of living creatures and all kinds of fishes and creatures of the deep, and so it happened. 

When God created the plants and the trees God spoke to the Earth and God ordered the Earth to bring forth vegetation and all the plants and trees that bear fruit,   And so it happened.

But when God created man, God spoke to himselflet us make man in our image, after our likeness. and so it happened.

 and so we find that
if you take a fish out of water, the fish will die.
if you pull a plant out of the Earth, the plant will die. and if you remove man from God, [or if man removes himself from God,] the man will die … a spiritual death. 

We live in a world, where so many people have removed, and separated themselves from God. 

There are plenty of reasons for this:  Spiritual Pride, Intellectual Pride, Indifference, Lack of faith, maybe they don’t see any persuasive reason or evidence to believe. 

It’s like the Pharisees who didn’t quite believe in Jesus, and they wanted a sign, more proof because his miracles and healings weren’t enough.

And Jesus said, No sign will be given except the sign of Jonah the prophet.  And just as Jonah was in the belly of a whale for 3 days and 3 nights, so will the Son of man be in the heart of the earth 3 days and 3 nights.  

This was a pre-figurement to His Resurrection.  The ultimate sign. 

People still ask, where is God? I need more proof.  Well God’s fingerprints are everywhere.

 And heaven is still speaking to us, through his Church, through Sacred Scripture, and through all his signs and wonders still today. 

As many of you know, there is this interesting natural Phenomenon, called a Solar eclipse, that’s going to happen on Monday April 8th, just 8 days away. 

And this solar eclipse is yet another opportunity to witness the handiwork of God, the creator of the Sun, and moon and stars, and the Master of Science, and be reminded that we live in a world made by God and sustained by his love and goodness.

And with this particular Eclipse, there are a lot of interesting things that are happening:

First of all, Monday April 8th, we will be celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Usually, the feast of the Annunciation is on the 25th of March, but because March 25th occurs during Holy Week, we don’t observe feast days during Holy week or in the Octave of Easter, we don’t skip this important feast day, instead we transfer it to the very next available day.  

That 1st available day happens to be Monday April 8th.

We know that when we observe the Feast of the Annunciation, we are celebrating Jesus Christ our Redeemer, first coming into this world, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

The church has traditionally taught that the Sun and the Moon, represent Jesus and Mary:  

Jesus is like the sun, who is the source of all light.   And Jesus reflects His light onto Mary, who is like the moon. In a sense, the moon is the handmaid of the sun. It has no light of its own.

This eclipse, where the sun and moon are getting together, is going to begin way out in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of Mexico at 12noon [CST] Central Standard Time and ending in the Atlantic Ocean, east of Newfoundland at three o’clock PM Central Standard Time.

What’s the significance of noon to 3pm? 

Those are the hours that Jesus was on the cross, suffering for us, and during that time, the sun was darkened. 

We focus on Central Standard time, because that’s where path of the eclipse enters into the United States, beginning in the State of Texas and going all the way to the State of Maine.    

And it’s interesting that when this Eclipse first crosses into Texas, it begins by hovering over a Biblical named town by the name of Jonah.  

  And as it continues on its path all the way up into Canada, it passes over 7 little towns that are all called Nineveh.  That’s very interesting because Nineveh was the city that Jonah was sent to preach to.   

And if you look up how many cities in America are named Nineveh, there are only 7, and it’s going to pass over those 7 towns called Nineveh, they will all see, a full or partial eclipse.  It also crosses over into Canada it will pass over the one city in Canada called Nineveh. . . .  So it will cross over all the cities named Nineveh in the United States and in Canada] 

How significant, right, we can chalk this off as just coincidence, but it’s a very interesting coincidence.

 We also recognize that the eclipse we had 7 years ago in 2017, it began in Salem, Oregon crossing the US to South Carolina, coincidently, it went over 7 cities named Salem — Salem is short for Jerusalem.

And this April eclipse goes from Texas to Maine, so between these 2 eclipses, it creates a great cross over the middle of the United States, and at the very center of that cross is in Iowa, at a little town called Palestine.

And so, we recognize all these biblical connotations and

Of course, maybe Heaven is telling us something, and trying to communicate to us.  And like the wise men, the Magi, it takes the wisdom of God, to recognize the message. . . . And of course, the message is that of Jonah, the message to repent. 

Now Jonah’s message was very urgent – 40 days more and Nineveh will be destroyed  and so the urgency of Nineveh was great.  Good thing for Nineveh was that the people repented, and God relented in the punishment that he would send.

Now we’re also told by biblical historians that around 700 BC, after Jonah came out of the whale and began preaching to the Ninevites, that there was a  total eclipse that went over the city of Nineveh, and so that eclipse would have given even more credence to Jonah’s warning to the Ninevites, and so the people of Nineveh took more seriously his call for them repent of their sins, and turn away from evil, in those 40 days.

Another interesting fact is that 40 days from April 8th is May 19th, which happens to be The Feast of Pentecost.

So, we can look at all these things as coincidences, however, I think, we always have to keep our minds open, that God is truly trying to teach us and tell us something, but not to be fearful, but just see this as a sign of hope.  

God is the creator of the Sun and Moon and Stars. And God is the creator of all the wonders of the Universe. And many people are traveling great distances to see this beautiful Solar Eclipse, many who are seeking to be closer to God, in their own way.  

And God is going to speak to them, through this most magnificent event. 

Let us be praying for the conversion of all those people, that when they go out there and see the solar eclipse, that they don’t just see a solar eclipse, but they see the Magnificence of God, especially on this Feast Day of the Annunciation of our Lord to Mary. 

That with their new closer relationship with God, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, that thousands, if not millions, of hearts will be converted in our country. 

And for us too, that we may be converted and strengthened in our faith.

Just as we renewed our baptismal promises today, celebrating with joy the Resurrection of our Lord, his victory over sin and death. . . . may we and all our families be confident in recommitting our lives this Easter. . . .  Rejoicing in hope, renewed in faith, and deepened in love.  Amen.