Monday, March 28, 2016

Christ is Risen

Happy Easter! Felices Pascuas! Joyeuses Paques! Buona Pasqua!

The word “Easter” comes from the name of a Saxon goddess of dawn or spring. Easter symbolizes life: Jesus is Risen and alive! Pascuas, as in Paschal Lamb, is from the Hebrew word for Passover.

The Easter egg can symbolize the struggle of the chick to free itself from its shell. The egg has to break. We too struggle in a world that we may perceive is going to pieces so that we can take flight into God's dwelling place.  Eventually, we will at some point break out of our own earthly “shell” into a new transfigured life.

Easter is about the daybreak, starting over. Jesus' resurrection is a new day. All is opportunity. We begin again.

In the Word of God, Peter proclaims the good news and speaks about all that God has done for us through Jesus. He is indeed, Peter shouts, a God of mercy and forgiveness. And that’s why Pope Francis emphasizes that the Church is a field hospital, here to heal wounds.

Paul in his letter to the Christian community in Colossae, Turkey challenges us to seek God in our everyday lives so that we might appear with Him in glory at the end time.

And in the Gospel according to John, we hear the story of the resurrection of Jesus. He is Risen; He is alive.  He has passed from earthly life through the mystery of death into a new, transfigured heavenly reality. And this future is ours as well.

The disciples, afraid in the upper room after the burial of Jesus, could have said: How many hopes lie buried here. And then suddenly the Risen Christ appeared: to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb; the disciples in the upper room; and the two on the road to Emmaus.

Jesus said to the disciples: I live and because I live, you live.  That's the Easter message!

Through the sacraments, we experience the living Christ. No sooner are we born in the flesh than we are reborn in the spirit.  Water is poured upon us in the rite of baptism; the Spirit is poured out upon us; and we become "new creatures." The triune God lives within us and we live within the triune God.

As we grow into adolescence, the bishop anoints our forehead with oil in the sign of the cross—and God pours out more fully the gifts of the Spirit so that we can reflect the fruits of the Spirit in our daily lives.

At Eucharist, the Living Christ feeds us with his life so we can continue our journey to God. And if we "stumble" on the way, the Living Christ lifts us up in the Rite of Penance where we celebrate God's mercy.

Yes, through the sacraments, privileged encounters with God, we experience the living Christ.  All the sacraments are indeed signs of God’s care as we journey to our heavenly dwelling place.

All of us were created to be in relationship with God and one another forever.   Easter proclaims it’s a new day, a new season, a new life.  It's a day to ask: how can we be more loving, more generous, more tenderhearted, more thoughtful, more helpful?It a day to seek a heart to heal, a relationship to mend, a lost soul to find..

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