Easter Sunday | 4 April 2021
“On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.”
– John 20:1
Brothers & Sisters,
Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!
Alethos Anesti! Truly he is risen!
This traditional greeting emphasizes our Easter celebrations’ simple truth – and how simple sharing our faith can be. Simple, yes, but easy, not necessarily. Remember, our affirmation of Christ’s Resurrection assures others, and their positive response encourages our initial expression of faith.
Our assent and participation in the mysteries of Christ we celebrate are essential. At the Gospel during Mass, we affirm the presence of Christ proclaimed, with the response, “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!” During the Eucharistic Prayer, we offer God the Father, his beloved Son. Then Christ offers himself to us at Communion, and our belief is affirmed with a powerful “Amen.” During Easter Masses, we renew our baptismal promises with a confident “I do.” At the core of all is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whether our response is in English, Greek (Christos Anesti), or Hebrew (Amen), let’s strive to make our interior belief match the words we say out loud. And let us recognize our role in encouraging one another – our prayers and presence validate our authentic worship and celebration this day.
As we entered Lent, ashes reminded us of our ongoing call to conversion, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The liturgies and scriptures focused on true discipleship, where we are called to embrace our teacher, Jesus, and courageously follow him. Following in His path is the only way to eternal life, lasting peace, and true joy. All other grasps at happiness are fleeting.
The starkness and simplicity of the Church, amid Passiontide and Holy Week, were emphasized when the Tabernacle, icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the image of Divine Mercy, and statues of Joseph and the child Jesus were covered in purple cloth. The angels adoring at the sides of the Tabernacle were removed.
Good Friday is even more drastic. The altar had been stripped after the Mass of Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday night. But most starkly, the tabernacle was empty. The emptiness remains as we enter into Holy Saturday. The day is relatively quiet in the Church. The sun sets, and all goes dark.
The fire blazes in the darkness as the Easter Vigil begins, yet the presence of our Risen Lord fills its void; the darkness is eradicated by the Paschal (or Easter) Candle brightly shining when processed into the Church.
Our faith is rich and deep, truly a profound mystery. Its foundation is not contingent on statues or images depicting the past, even if they are familiar and comforting. These holy representations should not be reduced to long-ago memories but reminders for us to continue praising the Lord, proclaiming him to all nations, while humbly seeking intercession. No, our faith’s foundation is not about objects but the living Lord and his promise that those who believe in him and live out their faith share in his eternal life! Thank you for your beautiful witness of faith and for joining with the cloud of witnesses!
Our Easter celebrations require many preparations and, during a pandemic, even more planning. My deep gratitude to our extraordinarily competent and giving parish staff who have helped to provide a safe and beautiful worship experience on these holiest days. Many hours are put into the execution of these liturgies, including the added hospitality logistics and communications, the inspiring music, the proclamation of these powerful Scriptures, the distribution of Communion, the broadcasting on our streams, the cleaning and decorating of the Church and parish buildings, and the care for the campus including Spring weeding and planting. Please join me in thanking them, both directly and in prayer. You, our parishioners, visitors, and guests joining us to celebrate Easter also deserve great thanks. Your desire to celebrate our faith in Jesus, whether in person or virtually, is evident. Thank you for participating in our worship and making this Easter joyous and full of life.
Please feel free to share the events we are offering this Easter Season with your neighbors. A simple invitation may be the encouragement a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor needs. And we thank you for your continued responses and registrations for Mass and other activities that help us plan and safely accommodate you.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett