My Dear Friends,
Happy Easter! We welcome everyone to the Church of the Little Flower for our celebration of the
Resurrection of our Lord, and we give a special welcome to all our brothers and sisters who are visiting us from out of town and have come to worship with our faith community.
The joy of the Resurrection indeed fills the whole world and fills this holy temple today as we shake with joy that our Savior has conquered sin and death. The joy of Easter must always be in the heart of every Christian. It is the central mystery of our faith, for as St. Paul writes: “if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain (1 Cor 15:14).” But Christ indeed is risen! As the Easter Sequence we will hear this day proclaims: “Speak, Mary, declaring what you saw, wayfaring. The tomb of Christ, who is living, the glory of Jesus’ resurrection; bright angels attesting, the shroud and napkin resting. Yes, Christ my hope is arisen; to Galilee he goes before you.”
Now is the time to take this good news with us. Our world needs to hear the salvific message of the Risen Christ. Like Mary Magdalene, who was the first witness of the Resurrection, we must go like her and tell others what we have seen, what we have heard, what we have experienced on this day.
Our dear Pope Benedict XVI, who recently departed to the house of the Father, once preached on Easter Sunday:
Every Christian relives the experience of Mary Magdalene. It involves an encounter which changes our lives: the encounter with a unique Man who lets us experience all God’s goodness and truth, who frees us from evil not in a superficial and fleeting way, but sets us free radically, heals us completely and restores our dignity. This is why Mary Magdalene calls Jesus “my hope”: he was the one who allowed her to be reborn, who gave her a new future, a life of goodness and freedom from evil. “Christ my hope” means that all my yearnings for goodness find in him a real possibility of fulfilment: with him I can hope for a life that is good, full and eternal, for God himself has drawn near to us, even sharing our humanity. (Urbi et Orbi, April 12, 2012)
Christ is indeed our hope! Like the dawn of spring, the dawn of this Easter morning brings with it a new hope, a new life, a new beginning, that we as sinners are constantly thirsting for. Three years ago, during one of our darkest hours, Pope Francis spoke of this hope:
At dawn the women went to the tomb. There the angel says to them: “Do not be afraid. He is not here; for he has risen” (vv. 5-6). They hear the words of life even as they stand before a tomb… And then they meet Jesus, the giver of all hope, who confirms the message and says: “Do not be afraid” (v. 10). Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: This is the message of hope. It is addressed to us, today. These are the words that God repeats to us this very [day].
[Today] we acquire a fundamental right that can
never be taken away from us: the right to hope. It is a new and living hope that comes from God. It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, uttered with an empty smile. No! It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own. Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well”, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts. But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate. Jesus’ hope is different. He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life. (Easter Vigil Homily 2020)
Like Jesus, we too rise this day, but from the death of sin and our reborn by the life-giving waters of baptism as we renew our baptismal promises as we do every Easter Sunday. They serve as a reminder that we are called to share the hope of the Risen Christ with the world.
Thank you for celebrating with us during this Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Now let us bring the message of Christ, our hope, to an increasingly secular world, a world that has forgotten how to hope, a world that needs bold witnesses of the Resurrection: witnesses of hope like you!
God bless you all,