Dear Parishioners: Happy Easter! "This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad! Alleluia!" The Resurrection we celebrate on Easter is the very foundation of our faith, our hope, and our love. It is so central to our faith that we celebrate it every Sunday at Mass. I hope and pray those who join us at Mass this Easter begin to reclaim Sunday as the Lord's Day in their lives. May they be anchored in faithfulness to Sunday Mass which is our weekly family meal with the risen Jesus.
The triumph, the life, the light, the raising up, the salvation which exploded on that Easter morning as Jesus rose from the dead continues in His Church every day. The power of the risen Christ shows itself in the extraordinary community that is the Church. God's love for us is so personal, so passionate, so intense that He gave His only begotten Son for our salvation. St. Paul asks a very interesting question in one of his Letters: “What would it be like if Christ did not rise from the dead?” Thankfully St. Paul answers his own question: “If Christ did not rise from the dead, then we have lived in vain, and we have believed in vain.”
But Christ did rise from the dead! He did leave the tomb. He did conquer death. And so our life is neither a staircase leading nowhere or a meaningless journey because of Easter. Pope Benedict, Pope Emeritus reminds us: “God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed.”
Indeed because of our hope in the resurrection, our lives find their ultimate purpose and destiny in God, in life eternal. But also because of Easter, nothing that we do in this life is ever meaningless, however big or small. Because of Easter, every good deed we make, even the smallest act of kindness, becomes something of tremendous value. The road of life, the road which we all travel, can often be uphill; filled with pot-holes of suffering, sidetracked by failure and even detoured by defeat. And yet we can endure the harshness of our journey because of the hope that we celebrate today: the Risen Christ, endless glory, lasting peace, and eternal happiness. We took the forty days of Lent, preparing for Easter, very seriously at OLM. I offer my congratulations to those who, by more fervent prayer, more self-denial, and greater charity to those in need, responded so well to the Ash Wednesday invitation of the Lord to “return to me with all your heart!” The forty days of Lent are behind us, so now let’s celebrate the fifty days of the Easter Season leading up to Pentecost Sunday.
At Easter we look around the Church and beyond at the “explosion of new life” for it’s just not the lilies in full bloom but also the risen life of Christ is in full bloom! Our faith tells us that the victory of Jesus over sin, Satan, and death at Easter is not just His triumph alone — He shares it with all of us! He shares it with those baptized, confirmed, receiving Him for the first time in Holy Communion, and those joining His Church this Easter! Alleluia! Welcome one and all!
He shares it in a few weeks with our parish children who share the risen life of Jesus as they make their First Holy Communion! Alleluia! He shares it in a few weeks with our parish young people who are to be confirmed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Alleluia! He shares it over the next couple of months, with young couples who begin new lives in the sacrament of marriage. Alleluia!
The Resurrection of Christ is radiating life and light all over! Alleluia! For fifty days we’ll keep the Easter candle lit brightly, we’ll smell the powerful aroma of the lilies; we’ll joyfully sing out “alleluia,” and we’ll stay close to Jesus through the sacraments. The darkness, gloom, and death of Good Friday do not have the last word. The night is over; winter is gone. The light and life of Easter Sunday morning triumph! It’s morning. it’s springtime in the Church. Saint Augustine said it so well: “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!” Father Shemek, Deacon John and I wish you a Blessed Easter, may it be full of peace, joy and happiness!