Three Sundays ago we celebrated Easter, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. We celebrated here with Word, festival and song. I trust that every household celebrated Easter in a variety of ways, either with a festive meal, family traditions and prayers, and possibly you even decorated your homes. What evidence of Easter exists in your homes today? Are there bouquets of flowers, special plants, tulips or lilies adorning your living room or great room? If a friend walked into your home, would they know you are still celebrating Easter?
The church celebrates Easter for 50 days, listening to the Acts of the Apostles, the Book of Revelation and John’s Gospel for all these days, reflecting on what this mystery of faith means to us. Saint Augustine once said, “We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.” Yes, every Sunday is a little Easter. The joy of knowing Christ calls us to witness to his Resurrection. Pope Francis challenges us to be a group of witnesses who are evangelizers as he writes:
“The Church which goes forth is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice… Let us try a little harder to take that first step and to become involved . . . . An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. . . Evangelization with joy becomes beauty in the liturgy, as part of our daily concern to spread goodness. The church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy, which is a both a celebration of the task of evangelization and the source of her renewed self-giving (Evangelium Gaudium, 24.)
In Baptism and Confirmation we were signed with the fragrant oil of chrism to allow the joy of Christ to waft through our lives and liturgies. We must invite others into “full, conscious, and active participation” into their faith not just at Christmas and Easter. May others experience the vibrancy, the fervor, the passion we experience knowing the love God has for us. We shouldn’t have to tell people we are an Easter people; it should radiate naturally outward from the smiles on our faces, the joy we feel in our hearts, and the desire to celebrate this good news every Sunday. Alleluia is our song, and may we sing with joy, raise the roof with our vocal responses, and make a joyful noise unto the Lord on all these Sundays.
Easter lasts for 50 days, how will your home reflect this joy for Fifty Days??
Father Larry Hendel