From pre-Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 10th we set out to embrace the three disciplines of Lent: almsgiving, fasting and prayer. Families saved money from simpler meals to contribute to Operation Rice Bowl an extension of Catholic Relief Services to aid the poor and needy of our world. We fasted from gossiping, too much television and possibly time spent on computer games, and feasted on conversation around the dinner table, spent time helping others and gathering for the Eucharist on Sunday. We prayed the Stations of the Cross, prayer around the cross in the Taizé mode and generally tried to spend time listening to God in our daily lives; listening to the voice of the one who imparts guidance, wisdom and direction for our lives.
We have done all these things, celebrated the great Three Days, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and now we gather together to celebrate the great Feast of Easter. Here is the heart of our faith that Jesus, the Son of God came to this earth to announce the Good News of the Gospel, save us from our sins, and demonstrate the power and wonder of God’s love for us. Laying down his life so that like the bronze saraph serpent Moses raised up to heal the people bitten by the real saraph serpents, Christ is risen from the dead to save us. For the next fifty days we will reflect on the Easter mysteries, Jesus’s Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension and glorification, culminating in the sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
We do not re-enact these truths of our faith, but we need time each year to digest, take apart, and reflect on their meaning in our lives. The church celebrates Easter for fifty (50) days, not fifty days after Easter. We will hear texts from the Acts of the Apostles and John’s Gospel, people who were certainly part of a post-resurrection faith community, trying to absorb what all this means.
Where does the celebration of Easter lead us? It leads us to grow more deeply in our relationship with the risen Christ. How do these mysteries touch our lives in 2016? How can I carry on the story of the resurrection to others? Like the disciples, then, we too have been called to intimacy with Christ. We too have been empowered by the Spirit to be instruments of forgiveness and reconciliation to our broken fractured world in this jubilee year of Mercy. Death, calamities and evil do not have the last word. Do we have the courage and conviction to believe such “Good News” and live our lives accordingly? Let us receive this Good News and celebrate our faith in Christ .
Happy Easter, Father Larry