PASTOR'S COLUMN, SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2018

Submitted by St. Mary on Sun, 04/01/2018 - 9:23am

Dear Parishioners:

   The following comes from the Easter homily of Pope Francis, 2017:

   Today the Church repeats, sings, shouts: “Jesus is Risen!” ...It is the first announcement: “He is Risen.” And then the confusion, the closed hearts, the apparitions.  But the disciples stayed locked in the Upper Room the entire day because they were afraid that what happened to Jesus would happen to them.  The Church does not cease to say before our losses, our closed and fearful hearts: “Stop, the Lord is Risen.”…

   Yesterday I phoned a young man with a grave illness, an educated young man, an engineer, and while talking  to him, to give him a sign of faith, I said: “There are no explanations for what is happening to you. Look at Jesus on the cross. God did this to his Son, and there is no other explanation.” And he answered: “Yes, but he asked his Son and the Son said ‘yes’. I was not asked if I wanted this.” This moves us. None of us is asked: “Are you happy with what is happening in the world? Are you willing to carry this cross further?” And the cross goes forth and faith in Jesus comes down from it. Today, the Church continues to say: “Stop. Jesus is Risen.” And this is not a fantasy. The Resurrection of Christ is not a celebration with many flowers. This is beautiful, but this is not it. It is something more. It is the mystery of the discarded stone which becomes the foundation of our existence. Christ is Risen. This is what it means.

   In this throwaway culture where what is not needed is just used and disposed of, where what is not needed is thrown away, that stone — Jesus the source of life—, is discarded. And with faith in the Risen Christ, we too, pebbles on this earth of pain, tragedy, acquire meaning amid so many calamities. The sense to look beyond, the sense to say: “Look, there is no wall; there is a horizon, there is life, there is joy, there is the cross with this ambivalence. Look ahead, do not close within yourself...

   Let us think for a while, each of us, think about the daily problems, the illnesses we have been through or of one that a relative has; let us think about wars, human tragedies, and with simplicity, with a humble voice, without flowers, alone, before God, before us, let us say, “I do not know how this is, but I am certain that Christ is Risen and I have put a wager on it.” Brothers and sisters, this is what I wanted to say to you. Go home today repeating in your hearts: “Christ is Risen.”

   I would not want to try to surpass Pope Francis.  Nevertheless, allow me to add my own personal message of greeting and gratitude.  Greetings to all who are joining us for this observance of the Solemnity of Easter, and a great big “Thank you” to all the members of the parish community, who are constantly demonstrating the liveliness of faith through their participation in the various aspects of parish life!

           Blessed Easter,

                              Fr. Stephen