April 9, 2023
What a glorious day! A bare sanctuary is filled with the fragrance and beauty of flowers. The church smells clean and fresh. The sound of water fills the church. The "A" word is sung again. The year has come full circle. We celebrate the most important thing we believe as Christian people. Jesus has risen from the dead!
It took the people of Jesus' day some time to realize what "to rise from the dead" meant. We can only imagine their confusion when Jesus' body was missing. They may have imagined that it had been stolen. That would have been even another insult and indignity. Just when their hearts had sunk to the lowest point, they were faced with another possibility. Could he have risen? The joy of this day is a sure sign that this is exactly what happened.
The faith that was enkindled in the hearts of so many has survived, been passed on, and has grown over almost 2,000 years. This weekend, thousands of people will be baptized, confirmed, and welcomed into full communion with the church all over the world. Our community welcomes them and the new energy and vitality they bring. It's the same community that drew them in, that provided an opportunity to experience the Catholic faith that nurtured their developing faith. So, it's a celebration for all of us!
It was impossible to crush the message Jesus came to live. It was impossible for sin and darkness to win out over goodness and light. It was impossible for death to conquer life. The message of Easter is a message of God's triumph over all those things. So, we light a new fire, we bless water and sprinkle ourselves with it, we renew our baptismal promises. We welcome new members and are strengthened by their faith. And we glory in all that has happened.
It takes a lifetime for us to realize what happened that day more than 2,000 years ago. The resurrection of Jesus colors every facet of our lives. We need to live it. We need to pass it on to more people every day of our lives. So, we take the message to the streets. We live as people filled with hope. We share that hope with those around us. We work tirelessly against selfishness, evil, sin, darkness, and death, knowing that the power of the resurrection is infinitely stronger. That power grows stronger still as we share it and strengthen the faith of others. It was impossible to extinguish the message. Jesus lives. Jesus lives in us. Christ has died. Christ is risen! Christ will come again! ALLELUIA!