Jesus is Risen: He is Risen Indeed!
Easter is the most glorious and joyful celebration of the church year and the bond that unites Christians throughout the world. In many churches today people greet each other saying “He is risen” and the response is “He is risen, indeed!” Yesterday in the CVS Pharmacy a cashier and I were talking and on parting he said: “He is risen” and I responded in kind. We shared a great joy although we did not know each other. “But how?”, one of my former Sunday School teens asked? Before I answered the class debated as to whether it was a spiritual resurrection, a vision or dream of those who saw him, or did he raise up from the grave in his actual physical body? And was that the same or different than his natural body? After listening to them I answered: “He is risen in every way-He is alive and with us now and because He lives, we live now and forever”. While that may not satisfy those who seek “foolproof” scientific understanding of everything, it satisfied them and it satisfies me.
There is a song we used to sing in the Black Catholic church at St. Michael Parish in Hartford, Connecticut (written by Gloria and William Gaither with a version by Wanda Jackson): “Because He lives/ I can face tomorrow; because He lives/ all fears are gone…How sweet to hold a newborn baby/ but greater still the calm assurance/ this child can face uncertain days/ because He lives.” The hymn spoke to me then in the late 1980’s and I can still see our wonderful people’s priest Fr. Al Jaenicke singing along with the beautiful Choir, and it speaks to me even more today. Perhaps for me and for the world it is a fearful and uncertain time. But, dearest brother’s and sisters: because he lives we can face tomorrow! More, we can stand for justice and peace and the love of Christ with all we have to make a difference in this world.
Pope Francis said in Urbi et Orbi (City and World) today: “The Good Shepherd is risen from the dead and he will shepherd his people throughout the world…” He named all of the contemporary sufferings from war and terrorism to famine in parts of Africa and slave trafficking and the plight of refugees, the ravages of illness and poverty and more-“The Shepherd lives to care for us and guide us. Jesus, the Good Shepherd Lives” and still cares for the flock and all in need of his compassion. Amen!
Alleluia, He is risen! Aleluya,Resucito! (Alleluia, I rise!) as Rvda. Marina Teresa said to me this morning. And I replied, me too! Amen!
Last night at the Easter Vigil when we stood in darkness until the Paschal(Easter) Candle was lit from the fire and each of our candles were lit from its flame we remembered the tombs we have locked ourselves in or have been locked in. When the light came the tombs were empty of darkness and we had risen alive with Jesus Christ. Similarly for those gathered at Easter Sunrise/Son Rise Services this morning the sun finally pierced the darkness and we felt and saw the magnificent life all around us and within us. Today, Easter Sunday we worship bathed in light and surrounded by sweet smelling lilies and joyful people: Jesus is Risen-He is risen, indeed!
At Easter the church also receives those who have prepared and want to follow Christ and are reborn to “Live Jesus” as the Salesians say. They are baptized and also receive Confirmation and Holy Communion-they are welcomed into the Body of Christ. They receive the light of faith. The water of Baptism symbolizes dying with Christ and being raised with Christ-here we share again some of those joyous moments with our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers:
Thanks be to God for new life in the Living Christ!
We ARE AN EASTER PEOPLE-EASTER BLESSINGS TO YOU ALL!