My brothers and sisters in Christ,
The psalmist announces in Psalm 118 – This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. If we had a motto as a Church worldwide or as a local parish, we could not do much better than that phrase. Without this day – Easter Sunday – there would be no reason for us to rejoice.
But the fact is – Christ did rise from the dead, he did appear to his disciples over a period of time after his Resurrection, he did give all of us the gift of peace, he did commission us to go forth – to preach the Gospel and to baptize all nations. When he returned to the Father after the Resurrection, he gave us the commission to go and to continue his work. We are now the presence of Christ in the world: offering the gift of peace and reconciliation, announcing repentance for the forgiveness of sins, gathering as a community to support once another in faith, reaching out both within our own faith com-munity and beyond to bring comfort to those who mourn, healing to those who are in pain, food to those who hunger, companionship to those who are alone.
It is so important to remember that Easter is not about just one day. It does not end on Sunday evening and then we go back to our daily routines just as we did before. One of the reasons for our yearly celebrations is to re-mind us over and over again about who we are and what we are called to do as a community committed to living out the Gospel. Every year, as we enter into the celebration of Easter, we are called to once again renew ourselves, as does the earth in spring. We are invited to be rejuvenated so that we can go forth enlivened to be the loving presence of Christ in our world.
It seems that, so often, Easter Sunday comes to an end and for so many, including a great many Catholics, our celebrations are over. We are called to remember in our own homes, as we do in our churches every Sunday, that Easter is actually a season that lasts for fifty days. In our homes, where faith was first nourished and passed on from parents to children, we can remember the Easter Season in two very simple ways: water and candle.
First, bring home from church some of the water that was blessed at Easter. Place the water in a bowl on your table and, before you share dinner together or when you are leaving the house, bless yourself with the water as a reminder that we were given the gift of new life in the waters of Baptism, a sacrament in which we died with Christ so that we could rise with him to new life. Second, near that bowl containing Easter water, burn a candle, remembering that, at Baptism, we were given the light of Christ, a light that we are called to allow to shine forth through us to the world.
Enjoy this Easter Sunday and celebrate the Easter Season. Let these fifty days be a constant reminder that we carry the light of Christ, that we are called to be instruments of Christ’s peace in the world, that we are invited to rejoice in the new life won for us by Christ and shared by him with us in Baptism.
Love and Peace,