Happy Easter! Jesus, the crucified one, has now been raised from the dead. He is risen. Utter defeat has been transformed into irreversible victory. Alleluia, He has Risen Indeed! Evil has had its way with God’s anointed, the Messiah. It did all it could to break down the courage and fidelity of God’s anointed Savior. It exhausted its arsenal of hate, injustice, humiliation, and pain. It fought a bloody fight – but God’s anointed came out victorious. And what does that mean for us? It means everything, absolutely everything. The resurrection is the stamp that validates everything Jesus did and said: His claim to be God’s Son, to have authority to forgive sin and reestablish communion between God and man; His universal call to abandon self-centeredness for love of God and neighbor as the path to true happiness; His promise to give grace through a Church that endures forever.
If Jesus had not been raised, none of that would be worth listening to. He would have been just one more nice guy who finished last, one more dreamer whose dreams were squelched by the harsh reality of real life. Yes, he suffered and died for us and our salvation. He did rise from the dead, the tomb was empty on the first Easter morning so long ago. His victory over evil and falsehood, injustice and suffering is total, incontrovertible, and irreversible. In the face of twenty centuries filled with the glory of the martyrs and a steady stream of saints making their way to the heavenly communion of saints, an incredible growth of the Church from a small band of disciples, and an unquenchable Christian vitality, no reasonable person can deny really deny the resurrection!
St. Paul reminds us that all faith flows from faith in the resurrection: “If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith.” Yes, we are partakers in the Resurrection of Jesus. At our own death or in the death of loved one we share in eternal life. This is the ultimate way we share in our Lord’s triumph of Easter. We also share in the Resurrection of Jesus through the Sacraments of the Church. Yes, Jesus wants to fill our souls with His new, risen life. We call that life of Christ within our heart grace. He gives us grace in many ways, but most profoundly and dramatically, through the Seven Sacraments of the Church.
On this Easter Sunday 2017, we celebrate that thousands of people professed our Catholic faith for the very first time at the Easter Vigil in Churches across the globe. They received the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and received Christ sacramentally in their reception of First Holy Communion the Easter Vigil Mass! Here at Our Lady of Mercy, we celebrate and rejoice that five adults were received fully into the Catholic Church! Right before our eyes, we saw people rise to a new life as Jesus poured His light and life into their thirsting, hungry souls. Thus, we sing with the Exultet: “Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of His glory, let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples .”
The Easter Vigil is the “Mother of All Vigils.” Easter Sunday is the greatest of all Sundays, and Easter Time is the most important of all liturgical seasons. The word “Easter” comes from Old English, meaning simply the “East.” The sun which rises in the East, brings light, warmth and hope, and is a symbol of the rising Christ, who is the true Light of the World. The Easter Candle reminds us of this divine light, which is Christ. It is kept near the pulpit all through Easter. So during this Easter season , let us bask in the wondrous light of Christ and behold the beauty, the glory and the joy of Easter! Easter truly is the joy of glorified life and the victory over death, expressed most fully in the great resounding cry of the Christian: “Alleluia!” So let us shake this holy building, we call Our Lady of Mercy Church, with true joy as we raise our mighty voices and rejoice, Christ is Risen!
Let us joyfully sing today with the Psalmist: “This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad!” Behold the glory and proclaim Christ is Risen! A Blessed Easter! Be well. Do good. God Bless!