As we celebrate Easter Sunday together today, I hope that today’s feast will bring great joy and blessings to all.
Who can forget how last year for Easter we were not able to be together to celebrate this most important day in our faith – the day that Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over the powers of sin and death? Today, as we celebrate our share in the victory through participating together in the renewal of our baptismal promises and in the offering and partaking of the Eucharistic sacrifice, may we have even stronger faith in His victory over death, allowing Jesus to vanquish every fear of trial and of any tendencies to despair, that He would reign in our hearts and remain with us always as He promises.
As we celebrate this singular day, let us be mindful that the truth of Jesus risen from the dead forever changed the world’s history – and that the victory has already been won. In our own lives, while we celebrate the 50 days of the Easter Season with the Church that includes Jesus’ ascending to heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, we truly are an “Easter people,” called to live the truth of Jesus’ victory every moment of every day of our lives. In practice, this means that we are called to remain firm in the disciplines of the faith that we have focused upon during Lent, not sliding backwards in our attentiveness to Jesus, but in seeking to live in even deeper relationship with Him. Likewise, as St. Peter speaks of the disposition in life that all Christians ought to have, particularly in the midst of trials and sufferings that will come in our lives in the midst of this world, we are to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15). For no matter what circumstances come of this life, for good or for ill, so long as we remain rooted in Christ through our baptismal promises, seeking to rely upon Him and in staying focused upon Him, we can live in hope and joy even if and when we are made to suffer.
To that end, might I encourage all today to pray for the grace to continue forward in your faith ever greater confidence in God: that whatever circumstances you each may find yourselves within, that you might remain focused upon Jesus, our true source of life and joy. After last year’s trial of being separated from one another during this most holy time, may the joy of being able to celebrate together this year be in its own way a sign of hope for us – helping us always to give thanks to God for all He has done, is doing, and promises to do for us unto eternal life. May you all have a joyful and blessed Easter day!