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Easter Sunday

April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

April 12, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

“He is Risen!”

 

Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43

Psalm 118

Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 5:6b-8

John 20:1-9

 

When our granddaughter Lauren was about eighteen months old I used to play a little game with her by asking her how much she loved Nana and Papa.  She would smile and stretch out her arms wide and say, “This much.”  Lauren will be nineteen years old next month and is finishing up her first year of college.  I’m happy to say that she still loves Nana and Papa “this much!”

As we all know, and understand, the word love is sometimes overused.  “I love this song, I love this sports team, I love – well, just fill in the blank.”  Today, as we remember the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can understand what true love is all about.

What an amazing day today really is.  More so than any other day of the year, all around the world, Christians like us are called to commemorate the day in which our Savior Jesus the Christ rose from the dead. 

The only damper we have this day is that we will not be able to attend Holy Mass due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  We can virtually attend Mass by viewing “live stream” celebrations of the Easter Liturgy from our own parishes or utilizing other resources that are available on the internet.  Here is why Easter is so special:

Easter is the principal feast of the liturgical year.  Pope Leo I called it the “greatest feast” (festum festorum,) he continued by saying that “Christmas was celebrated only in preparation of Easter.”  Why is that?  Actually the answer is quite simple.  Today, we commemorate the most important single turning point in the history of mankind. 

According to the United States Conference of Bishops more Catholics attend Mass on Easter Sunday than on Christmas Day.  Personally, I thought it would be the other way around.  When we leave after a Christmas Mass we go back to our beautifully decorated homes, we attack the piles of presents that are under our trees, we enjoy great food and parties.  That won’t happen today.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of us will not be able to attend Mass nor receive the Holy Eucharist.

On this Easter Sunday of 2020 the majority of us will be at home with our immediate family keeping a safe distance from our family members and friends until there is an end to COVID-19 threat.  As difficult as it may be it is the right thing to do. 

Friends, I believe Easter is the Feast Day that truly speaks to all of us.  Today we celebrate the day that addresses our deepest fears and our greatest hopes.  Today we celebrate that, in Christ Jesus, WE ARE SAVED!”  We celebrate God the Fathers greatest love for us, in the person of Jesus, who has conquered sin, conquered sickness and conquered death.   Now that is worth rejoicing over.

Those who claim that our human race has no need to be saved must instead believe that sin, sickness and death have the final say.  But we are all here as a Christian community because we want and need to be saved.  We join with our fellow sinners, all over the world, to remind ourselves and each other what we truly believe.  We believe that Jesus lives!

Our Gospel narrative of Saint John recounts how the disciples first came to understand that Jesus had conquered death.  Mary of Magdala’s great love for our Lord did not end with His death.  She has come to the grave only to find it empty.  In her heart she knows what has happened.  She realizes that He IS alive!  Can you imagine the great joy she felt?  It is a joy we should all feel when we consume the Body of Christ and, and as a result, we become a human tabernacle.   

However, Mary needs others to confirm what her heart has already told her.  She runs to the apostles to tell them that the grave was empty.  Peter and John run to the grave.  Peter probably runs as fast as I do so John arrives at the grave before him.  Out of respect for Peter, John waits.  They go into the empty tomb.  Immediately John understands and believes that Jesus is alive.

My sisters and brothers, there it is.  Did you notice the dynamic between Mary, John and Peter?  Mary and John came to believe but they need Peter’s affirmation.  They need to know that Peter is a believer as well.  Was this the exact moment that Peter, the Rock, acknowledged his leadership as the first Pope of the Catholic Church?

Sadly, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is almost certain that in the year 2020 we will not be able to attend Mass during Holy Week or on Easter Sunday.  Our prayers are for everyone who have been affected, in any way, from the effects of COVID-19.  Most of all we pray for a cure for the virus in the very near future.

Friends, we look forward to our future and especially the future of our Church.  Hopefully, next year, when your children or grandchildren ask you the question, “Why is Church so full today” you will be prepared to answer with great conviction, “Because it is Easter and Jesus lives!”  But most importantly because Jesus loves us – +THIS MUCH+!      

Question of the Day:

Prayer:  “The Lord is truly risen, alleluia.  To Him be glory and power for all the ages of eternity, alleluia, alleluia.”  (Luke 24:34) 

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic.

Prosit 

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