Happy Easter! Our Lent is over! Indeed, this Lent has been unlike any other we have experienced! We are still under “stay at home” orders and priests are celebrating Masses on the media to empty churches! It has been sad for all of us to commemorate this Holy Week in this way without the body of Christ present celebrating the Paschal Mystery.
The Gospel of the Easter Vigil tells of the women who went to the tomb and witnessed extraordinary and frightening events—an earthquake; an angel appearing like lightning; the guards, shaken with fear who became like dead men; and the body of Jesus missing. The angel tells them “Do not be afraid! … for Jesus has been raised just as he said.” “Do not be afraid!”
In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II opened the Jubilee Year with these words which later were set to music on the occasion of the pope’s beatification: “Aprite le porte a Cristo! Non abiate paura: Spalancate il vostro curore all’amore di Dio!” Open your hearts to Christ! Do not be afraid! Open up your hearts to the love of God!” I invite you to listen to this beautiful song on Youtube. It will inspire you!
You and I are like those women who went to the tomb—hopeful, yet afraid to believe the good news. But we know that this is Easter—a time of hope, trust, and faith. Can we be like those holy women who ran off to tell the good news of resurrection? As men and women who have encountered Jesus through prayer, the sacraments and Jesus’ message spoken to us through other people, it is our turn to be witnesses to the Resurrection— witnesses of hope in a world in need of hope. Let us claim our legacy as Christians—give the message “Do not be afraid!” Proclaim the deep joy of the Resurrection. Jesus is risen—Alleluia!
One way for us to be witnesses of encouragement and hope is to connect with parishioners and family and friends to simply check-in during this time of distancing. It really makes a difference to hear from someone who is thinking about us and praying for us. This is something that we all can do.
In the meantime, please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers especially during this month of April which we are told will be a difficult one for us. Let us be mindful of and observe the recommendations posted by the US Center for Disease Control as faithfully as possible. If you are in need of food please do not hesitate to visit our Social Outreach Ministry on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. We are here to lighten your burden. It may be a little subdued this year but “Happy Easter!” The Lord is risen and will never abandon us!
Love, Fr. Vince