My dear parish family,
Happy Easter! You have no idea how happy your parish priests are to welcome you home to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord after spending it apart last year. May our church shake with joy this day as our Alleluia’s are sung with even greater fervor. We were quiet last year but today let the whole world know that as St. John Paul II would tell us repeatedly: “We ARE an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!”
This morning our joy is the joy of Mary Magdalene who went to the tomb early in the morning with her heart burdened with grief only to find the tomb empty, and suddenly her grief turns to joy when she discovers that the Lord is risen indeed!
This morning our joy is the joy of the apostles who woke up with great fear hiding in the Upper Room only to hear the joyous news of Mary Magdalene that the tomb was empty. Peter and John run to the tomb. Yet it wasn’t until Jesus appears to all of them in that cenacle that all their fears turn into overwhelming peace upon seeing the Master alive!
This morning our joy is the joy of the Emmaus disciples who are downcast and encounter a pilgrim on their way home. This pilgrim sets their hearts on fire as he explains the Scriptures to them, and later on that evening this pilgrim breaks bread for them and they see that it was the Risen Jesus walking with them all along. The two disciples run back to Jerusalem to tell the others. The news of the Resurrection cannot be contained! It must be shared!
Yes, ours is an Easter joy! Ours is a joy that the world cannot take from us because it was given to us by the Father himself who raised his only Son from the grave. The preface of today’s Mass echoes what the Church experiences during the Easter season: “Therefore, overcome with paschal joy, every land, every people exults in your praise [O Lord]…”
We gather this Easter Sunday to share this joy together. We share in the Good News of the Resurrection, and we rejoice in something that we probably took for granted until last year: that we get to gather here in our beloved church to celebrate Easter.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI began his last Easter homily as Pope by saying: “Easter is the feast of the new creation. Jesus is risen and dies no more. He has opened the door to a new life, one that no longer knows illness and death.” As we start to see light at the end of the great darkness of this pandemic, we realize that the light of Christ has been with us all along. This light calls us to something new. This light calls us to cast off the despair of this past year. The light of the Risen Christ indeed calls us to live in the splendid joy of the Resurrection and more importantly, to share that joy with the entire world!
May you and your families have a blessed Easter!