Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother!
“We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this day he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.” The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross:
Dying, he conquered death;
To the dead, he has given life.
-Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Easter.
Easter (referred to as the Pasch in the East) is not simply one feast among others, but the “Feast of feasts,” and the “Solemnity of solemnities.” The event of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the most unique in all of history. Had Jesus not risen from the tomb, the Christian Faith would be like so many others; one of belief in Him as a great teacher of divine wisdom; yet nothing more. Indeed, we believe in the One who has the power to conquer the greatest of enemies: death itself. Our blessed Lord rose from the dead, but not a return to what His earthly life had been before. Christ's Resurrection is essentially different. In his risen body He passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space. At Jesus' Resurrection His body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: He shares the divine life in His glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is "the Man of heaven."
We too share in the Divine Life; first through Baptism and particularly in the “Sacrament of Sacraments,” the Most Holy Eucharist. As Catholics, we have the privilege and duty to weekly assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and, please God, always in the state of grace, to reverently receive the Real Presence of our crucified and risen Lord – the pledge of our future glory.
Mary Magdalene and the holy women, in their deep sorrow, were the first who went to the tomb to tend to the somber task of anointing the Lord’s lifeless Body. To their utter amazement, however, they encountered not the dead but the Risen One.
May we have that same Easter joy and amazement each time we encounter Him here at Holy Mass and come away from the celebration to live and share the good news that Jesus Christ is risen...Yes – He is truly risen!
A Blessed and Holy Easter to all and may God bless and reward you for all generosity to St. Paul’s and to me. Be assured that all of you are remembered in our Easter Novena of Masses.
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda