Easter Message From Father Kevin
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our Lord has sent us a Holy Week this year like none other that we have ever had. This week, which commemorates the last week of the life of our Lord on this earth, is one in which we celebrate the Paschal Mystery: the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do that every Sunday, in fact, in every Mass and every Sacrament, but we do so more intensely this week, especially when we arrive to the Triduum (the “three days” of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday which culminates in the Easter Vigil).
We normally celebrate the Paschal Mystery with beautiful signs: listening to the Word of God together – especially a solemn reading of the Passion of our Lord – and reflecting on it as a community; beautiful music, both sung together and meditative solos; the washing of feet; a procession with the Blessed Sacrament with incense; prostrating ourselves before the crucifix and later venerating it; preparing and blessing the new fire; processing with the Easter candle, symbolizing Jesus, the Light of the World; the blessing of the baptismal font, and the renewing of our baptismal vows which we have prepared for throughout Lent, while witnessing the gift of new life in the Church as some of our brothers and sisters are plunged in to the life giving water of Baptism; and finally being nourished with the greatest of Signs, the Bread of Life, the Body and Blood of our Lord. The beautiful decorations of the flowers in the church only add to our joy at the resurrection of our Lord.
We celebrate the Paschal Mystery with signs, so that when it appears (sufferings and a dying) in our own life with concrete circumstances (illness, tragedy, pain, loneliness, financial problems, relationship problems, depression, etc.) we will recognize it and not run away. We will remember that we have seen this before, and it ends in new life. We will trust that the only way to get to Easter Sunday is to pass through Good Friday.
This year we are living the Paschal Mystery in a way that is not of our own choosing. Christ is still passing by. Instead of beautiful signs, there are other signs which we are being given where we have to look carefully to find the beauty. Christ is still there, but if he seems a little hidden, it just means we have to search that much more.
Christ is passing by in those who have fallen ill and in those who have died; Christ is surely there in those who are taking care of the sick. Christ is in the emergency medical personnel and in the first responders; Christ is there in the scientists working feverishly on a vaccine to protect us; Christ is there with the parents who feel cooped up in the house with more time with their children than they are used to; and yes, Christ is even there – though harder to see – in the millions of people who are losing their jobs, and in the many who are suffering from anxiety, fear, worry and uncertainty.
And Christ is especially there in those who reach out to others who are suffering. There are many opportunities for charity and alms and there will be even more in the coming weeks and months.
We may not have a beautiful Living Stations of the Cross in the church that we would like, where someone dons a costume to recall the example of Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus carry his cross or Veronica wiping his face. But how many Simons and Veronicas will we have around us if we open our eyes to see!
This will be a Holy Week that we will never forget. Let us ask our Lord for the grace to enter into his Paschal Mystery this year in whatever way he deems best for us; to live out our own Paschal Mystery, and to find him there. If we suffer with him and die with him, we shall also rise with him. (See Romans 6:8 and 2 Timothy 2:11).
Blessed Resurrection Sunday to everyone!