Walk the Easter Way: More than a Day, Easter is a Way of Living Differently
He Has Been raised and lives among us in the heart of the Church, for the sake of the world.
Nothing can separate us from that Love incarnated in the Crucified, Risen Son of the True and Living God. Alleluia! The light floods the once dark cave and fills the entire world with hope. The debt has been paid, the last enemy death has been defeated, hell has been conquered, the captives have been liberated, love has triumphed and heavens gates have been opened wide. He is Alive and all those who stand at the Altar of the Cross, and in the light of the empty tomb, believing in His promise, shall live forever in Him, beginning now. Easter is about a new way of life.
CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - In the Epistle reading for our Mass during the day on Easter Sunday, the Apostle Paul reminds the early Christians - and reminds all of us who stand with them in the continuing redemptive mission of the Lord - of an aspect of our celebration. Not only has the Lord whom we love been raised - but we who have been baptized into Him have already been raised with Him!
"Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth; For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory." (Col. 3: 1- 4)
At the Easter Vigil last night the new flame was lit. As a deacon of the Church I had the honor of carrying the Paschal candle into the dark sanctuary proclaiming "The Light of Christ". Candle by candle, the light of the Resurrection illuminated the world around us as He who is the Light of the World fills it with His radiance.
I then sang that ancient hymn of the Church which captures the depth of the mystery we celebrate on Easter, the Exultet, "Exult,let them exult, the hosts of heaven. Exult, let Angel ministers of God exult. Let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty Kings triumph! Be glad let earth be glad as glory floods her.
"Ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness. Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of His glory, let this Holy Building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples!" The words to this ancient hymn offer the deepest insights from the early Church into the meaning of the Paschal mystery.
The Vigil Liturgy readings walked us through the Old Testament into the New Testament - unfolding the great plan of a loving God who did not leave us in sin but sent His only Son into the world to save us and set us free from the chains of sin and the ravages of death!
This world which He had created in love through the Word is now re-created from within through the Incarnation- the Saving Life, Death and Resurrection, of the Word made Flesh. The One whom the Scriptures proclaim as the first born of the new creation burst forth from the tomb and began the New Creation.
Throughout the world, Catechumens, those prepared through catechesis (instruction in the faith) for Baptism and the Easter sacraments - and Candidates, Christians of other communities whose Baptism the Holy Church recognizes, prepared along with them for the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist, were incorporated into the full communion of Church, the Risen Body of the One who has been Raised; the One in whom we have been raised.
The palpable joy of Easter flooded Christians as we witnessed the power of God, Sacramentally mediated through those saving waters of Baptism, the Oil of Chrism and the reception of the most Holy Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Tears flowed like a river and the cold hearts of many of the faithful were enkindled once again by the great Easter Flame.
In our parish many adults were baptized. They walked down into a Font which had been lovingly built by men of the parish just this year. As they came out of those saving waters the entire Church erupted with Easter joy. As our priest confirmed them, pouring the Sacred Chrism on their Head - and, along with them, the others who had come into the full communion of the Church from other Christian communities - the utter wonder of it filled my soul.
I was profoundly moved by the beauty of the ancient yet ever new Catholic faith as it was expressed in its Liturgical fullness. When, standing alongside of our priest, I was able to offer them the Holy Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus for the first time, I was moved to tears.I have watched over the months as these dear people have yielded their lives to the Risen Lord and experienced the truth which they affirmed this evening, He Has Been raised and lives among us in the heart of the Church, for the sake of the world.
Nothing can separate us from that Love incarnated in the Crucified, Risen Son of the True and Living God. Alleluia! The light floods the once dark cave and fills the entire world with hope. The debt has been paid, the last enemy death has been defeated, hell has been conquered, the captives have been liberated, love has triumphed and heavens gates have been opened wide. He is Alive and all those who stand at the Altar of the Cross, and the light of the empty tomb, believing in His promise, shall live forever in Him, beginning now.
With the Mass of Easter day we begin the Octave, eight days of feasting on the readings which Holy Mother Church sets out on the table of the Ambo and receiving the Risen One in the most Holy Eucharist, becoming what we consume. We will hear the marvelous post Resurrection accounts and follow the extraordinary change which occurred in the early Apostles as the power of this Resurrection fashioned them into a living witness for the faith.
We will celebrate Easter for fifty days until we celebrate the next great Feast, the Feast of Pentecost. Alleluias will permeate our worship - and they are meant to inform our lives. That is because, in the words of the great western Church Bishop, Augustine, "we are an Easter people and alleluia is our song."
Everything is different now because that Tomb is empty. We are different now because we have been raised with Christ. We have been capacitated, through the Resurrection, to begin living our lives in a new way. Have you have heard the old adage, used often in a disparaging way, "Heīs so heavenly he is no earthly good." I suggest again that it misses the mark completely.
We Easter people are called to be so heavenly- to live our lives so attractively - that we bring Goodness Himself to the earth and move the earth toward its eternal recreation in Him. Easter is more than a day; it is a way of living our lives now in Him, and with one another for the sake of the world.
Because He has been raised, heaven has come to earth and earth can now come to heaven. Because He has been raised, the new creation has already begun. The seed of the kingdom is manifested in the Church which is His Risen Body, the sign of the new heaven and new earth. That Holy Place of Habitation where all men and women are called to be set free from the Law of sin and death, live and graze, being fed on His Word and nourished on His Body and Blood, healed by His Oil of Mercy and prepared for eternity.
As we follow Peter and John, whose story we heard proclaimed in our Gospel lesson for Easter Sunday, we witness the power of the Resurrection at work in the lives of ordinary men and women who become extraordinary by living their lives in Him. No longer afraid, these witnesses of the Resurrection, in the words of the Acts of the Apostles, "turn the world upside down with their preaching."
They became so configured to the Lord that they lived and died like Him, for the sake of the world which is being re-born now, because he has been raised. So too can we turn our world upside down because the Resurrection makes all things new, beginning now!
The implications of the Resurrection unfolded for them as they reflected on His saving life and death and yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. So it must for us now, as we realize that Easter is more than a day, it is a way. Time became for them a tutor, no longer a tyrant.
Because the sting of death, sin, had been defeated, it became for them a portal into eternal life and communion with the One who has been raised. So it is for each of us who now bear His Name. Time invites us into a field of choice where we can progress in freedom and become configured to the One whose Holy Resurrection we are celebrating.
Easter is more than a Day, it is a Way; A Way of living our lives differently now in Him because we have been set free. We are invited to do that by living them daily in His Church. The Church is His Body. The Church is the new world, in the course of transfiguration. That world created through Him out of love but which was lost due to sin, is now being made new! His tomb is empty.
He came among us and began creation anew. That is why we celebrate. Death has been defeated by His Saving Death. In His Resurrection, we now live no more to die. Darkness has been scattered by the Light which breaks forth from that empty tomb and is meant to infuse our daily lives with the radiance of Resurrected love. What a Day! What a Way, the Easter Way, Alleluia!
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting: The Three Pillars of Lent
- Contemplatives in the World: Learning to Pray During the Forty Days of Lent
- Ash Wednesday: Turn Away From Sin and Turn Toward the Lord
- Fr Dwight Longenecker on the Practical Practice of Fasting
- Deacon Fred Bartels: Ash Wednesday As a Moment of Decision
- Fr Randy Sly: 'Fat Tuesday' - Mardi Gras Meant to Be More than a Party
- This Ash Wednesday, take Lent to the next level
- What are YOU DOING this Lent?
- On the Fast Track: Approaching Lent with Living Faith
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
Wendy C. RN., BA. - Catholic Online, 3/8/2014
'Give alms...Pray to your Father...Fast without a gloomy face...' (Matthew 6:1-18) LOS ANGELES, CA - Giving alms, Jesus teaches, means making the needs of others our own, especially the needy of our ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 3/7/2014
The prayer of Jesus opened the heavens, brought provision to the hungry, gave Him clarity for making decisions and brought the glory of heaven to earth and earth to heaven. Prayer still does all ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 3/6/2014
Every Lent is also a reminder to us of our own mortality. "Remember you are dust and to dust you will return" is a time for us to pause and reflect. In an age drunk on self worship, a reminder of ...Continue Reading
Fr Dwight Longenecker - Catholic Online, 3/5/2014
Put very simply--Jesus commands us to fast and pray. The saints take fasting seriously and the church commands us to make fasting part of our life. Why not take up this discipline with a new ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »