My Dear Friends:
Happy Easter! We welcome all our parishioners and all of those visiting our beautiful church to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord!
“The joy of the resurrection renews the whole world.”–From the Old Translation of the First Easter Preface
We are filled with overwhelming joy on the Easter morning. We have gathered to celebrate the triumph of our Lord over sin and death. This joy, as the liturgy tells us, renews the whole world and should renew us this day. During Lent, we put to death our sinful ways and now we walk in the freedom of God’s children. This Sunday is special because we gather in great numbers to celebrate the central mystery of our faith. This indeed is the day the Lord has made and we rejoice and are glad as the psalm says. But my friends, every Sunday is special, every Sunday is a mini-Easter, every Sunday IS the Lord’s Day. A dear friend texts me every Sunday morning to wish me a “Happy Sunday.” It is a recognition that this day is different from all others. It is a day dedicated to family, rest, and most importantly, it is the Lord’s Day. But today is the Sunday of Sundays. It is Easter Sunday, and we are definitely filled with the radiant joy of the resurrection that transforms us.
Last night at our Easter Vigil, five of your fellow parishioners received the Easter sacraments and were baptized, confirmed, and received first communion. Last week I recalled an Easter Vigil that I celebrated 10 years ago where a 16-year-old girl wise beyond her years was baptized. That night, her face was as radiant as that of the risen Christ as she came before the baptismal font and was baptized. Later on in the liturgy she was confirmed and received the Eucharist for the first time. While I was finishing to distribute communion, she was kneeling in the first pew about three feet away from me. When I was done, she murmured something to me that I couldn’t quite understand. I leaned in closer, and she told me with an angelic and joy-filled smile, “Father, I want to do it again!” I smiled from ear to ear. Imagine a 16-year-old girl who gets what Easter is all about! And like hers are countless stories of so many catechumens whose lives are completely transformed through the living waters of baptism. One of the parishioners who was baptized last night is one of our 7th graders in the school. And though I am writing this will before her baptism and official entrance into the Church, I can’t help but think of all the times we’ve discussed her baptism and the luminous smile it brings to her face. The same goes for all the adult catechumens who will be baptized Catholics by the time this is read. Their testimonies are extraordinary and can teach us so much about the faith we sometimes take for granted. The joy of the resurrection truly does indeed renew the whole world. Sometimes we cradle Catholics who have practiced the faith for many years have to pause and reflect on what Easter really means to them and see Easter through the eyes of the newly baptized.
We know the story of this day. But what are we doing to share the joy of the resurrection? We cannot leave this joy here in church. Yes, it feels great here on Easter morning with a beautifully decorated altar and heavenly music, but this joy dies here as surely as Christ died on the cross if we do not take it beyond the walls of this church and spread it to every corner of the earth. My friends, the Lord has freed us from our bondage to sin. He has freely given to us the gift of immortality. He has filled our lives with joy and peace. Is that not worth sharing? Our catechumens through their witness will share this joy because they have fallen in love with their faith and with this man named Jesus who died and rose for them and gave them new life. He did the same for you. What will you do for Him?
God bless you all,