FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “May Christ, who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us in to the light of His glorious day.”
We celebrated Easter Sunday last Sunday as “the Easter we will never forget.” Our Easter Triduum services and Easter Sunday Mass were live streamed from an empty church. The “shelter-in-place” directives meant that many of us ate our Easter dinner alone or with a very small group of people. We spent the rest of the day calling or texting family members and those we love to wish them God’s blessings this year.
In spite of the Coronavirus Pandemic, we gathered in darkness on Holy Saturday night. With a skeleton crew of ministers present, we lit our 2020 Easter candle and proclaimed that Christ is our Light. We sang familiar hymns that expressed our belief that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. And then on Easter Sunday morning – the sun did rise. In spite of the uncertainty and fears of the previous weeks, we moved with the Lord from darkness to light. We needed those celebrations last weekend to assure us that even though we must still “shelter-in-place” and the pandemic is still a threat, we will see the day when we will be able to emerge from the tombs of our homes and truly stand in the light of our God. Each of our celebrations assured us that this will pass. Amen!
One of the positives that has emerged from the present trials is a gift to see what is truly important. Many news reports showed us images of cities around the world totally empty. Restaurants, parks, beaches and places normally populated were deserted. As we worry about the pandemic’s timetable and the future that will follow, we’ve been given a gift to see what is important and what is not. Empty streets remind us of the congestion and frantic pace that we had lived in and the extreme busyness that was the hallmark of our lives. We were always rushing from one thing to the next. Even though unwelcomed, the “shelter-in-place” order has given us an invitation to notice who we have in our lives and what we have been given. We have been invited to appreciate life and to truly live in the present moment. We have been invited to notice, to listen and to appreciate God’s touch in so many moments we can take for granted. We have so many things to be grateful for. Let’s take advantage of the opportunities before us.
Thank you to the “skeleton crew” that made it possible for us to experience the Easter Triduum and Easter Day Mass from our familiar church home. Many have told me that seeing a familiar place was a source of tremendous consolation and encouragement – just what we needed. We will continue to live stream our Sunday Masses for as long as it takes until we are all able to be together in person.
With this Sunday’s celebration of the Octave (Eighth day) of Easter, we have completed the first segment of this 50-day season of new life. Since Easter itself is too great an event to be celebrated within a single 24-hour day, the entire first week of the season is treated as a one day celebration – the Octave of Easter. The Gospel readings at the weekday Masses gave us the different resurrection appearances of the Lord recorded in the four Gospels. Today’s Gospel gives us John’s account of Jesus’ Easter night appearance to the disciples. With Jesus’ first words to the apostles of “Peace be with you!”, it was an incredible experience of reconciliation and forgiveness.
We spent 40 days fasting in preparation for the feast of Easter. Now we are called to spend 50 days feasting in celebration. We need to hold on to our Easter belief that God always leads us from death to new life. God will lead us through this pandemic to totally new life. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy