"Yes, Christ my hope is arisen"( Easter Sequence). Why are all Christians rejoicing this Easter morning? "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,'" says the Psalmist. We rejoice, for Christ finally has defeated sin and death through his resurrection. So, "let's celebrate the feast for our paschal lamb," Christ, has been sacrificed (see 1 Cor 5). The sorrows and sufferings of Christ, his sacred passion, has yielded fruits of life. Jesus is alive; he is dead no more!
The resurrection of Jesus is the basis of our Christian faith. As this Sunday's John's Gospel relates, Mary of Magdala found an empty tomb. Peter and John saw burial clothes, but there was no body of Jesus in the tomb, for he is risen from the grave as scriptures have foretold. "The Lord has indeed risen, alleluia. Glory and kingship be his for ever and ever" (Entrance Antiphon).
For the next eight days, the octave of Easter, we will celebrate as one single day this joyful news. And for fifty days until Pentecost, the Church's liturgy will celebrate and keep alive the joy of our victory over sin and death, the resurrection of our Lord. I urge us not to hold back the joyful strain, let's not hold back our joy, and not in any way restrain the celebration of the power of the resurrection. Come to the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ frequently to partake in the victory over sin and death. The grace of the Risen Christ is yours to partake in and be empowered by. The Easter joy offered at mass is the abundance of grace released for all of us.
I conclude my reflection with lines borrowed from Gerard Manley Hopkin's poem, "Easter":
Open wide your hearts that they
Let in joy this Easter Day.
Seek God's house in happy throng;
Crowded let His table be;
Mingle praises, prayer, and song,
Singing to the Trinity.
Henceforth let your souls always
Make each morn an Easter Day.
The Lord is risen; shout Alleluia!
In Christ's Joy,
Fr. Bernard, OP