May Easter Be One of Peace, Grace, and a Deepening Relationship

What is the highlight of the Holy Thursday celebration of the Lord’s Supper? For me, it’s what follows the celebration, the silent adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
And what is the highlight of the Good Friday celebration of The Passion of the Lord? For me, it is watching all the people come up to give reverence to Christ crucified on the cross by a bow, a touch, or a kiss. And in those morning hours of Holy Saturday, I relish the silence that seems to permeate all of nature in recognition of our Lord’s time in the tomb.
And then what happens? We read the sacred stories of salvation history at the Easter vigil: the creation of the world; Abraham being put to the test, the crossing of the Red Sea, as well as the beautiful prophecy of Isaiah, where we are invited to come and eat, come and drink. But what I always cling to at the Easter vigil is actually the Hallelujah verse right before the gospel, where the beautiful words are proclaimed, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. That is the promise that is given, that is the promise that is fulfilled.

Do you have a favorite Easter song? Of course the traditional ones are beautiful. Who is not inspired by the words, “The strife is war, the battle’s done,” or “Ye son and daughters, let us sing! The king of heaven, the glorious king, or death today rose triumphing, Hallelujah.” Have you heard the Easter Song? It’s quite upbeat and I’ve never heard it sung in a Catholic Church but I always binge on it during the Easter season. In fact, it takes all my strength to not listen to it on YouTube prior to Easter and it always puts me in a good mood:

 “Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing that we can be born again. Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing Christ has risen from the dead. The angel up on the tombstone said, ‘He has risen, just as He said.’ Quickly now go tell His disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead. Joy to the world, He has risen, alleluia.”

How were the 40 days leading up to the celebration of Easter? Maybe your Lent was great and you did everything you wanted to do, all with the goal of walking with Jesus for those 40 days. But maybe for some, the 40 days of Lent came and went without any notice at all. The good news is that the resurrection of Jesus does not depend on our Lenten observance! He has conquered the power of sin and death, and in our yearly Lenten observance, it is never too late, even now, to commit to a deeper relationship with Jesus. That is Good News.

As the weeks of the Easter Season unfold, Sunday-after-Sunday we hear the great gospels of the Risen Jesus. On the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Jesus walks through the locked doors of the upper room, encounters Thomas, the doubter, who becomes Thomas, who professes the beautiful profession of faith: “My Lord, and my God.” That same verse is traditionally recited in the silence of our hearts as we gaze upon the Eucharist at the elevation at each Holy Mass.
On the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Jesus appears to the frightened disciples with the beautiful greeting, “Peace be with you.” We know that Jesus desires to give us a peace that the world cannot give. The 4th Sunday of Easter is always referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” and with which I always recall a bad memory! I was supposed to baptize my cousin’s baby on the 4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday, at his neighboring parish. But my parish planned coffee and doughnuts to celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday to honor the priests and I was swept up with the doughnuts and forgot about the baptism! The priest at the other parish stepped in but I was so embarrassed by missing the baptism. With the 5th Sunday of Easter we have the image of the vine and the branches, “I am the vine, you are the branches,” an appropriate image of the spiritual life. And what better Gospel could there possibly be for the 6th Sunday of Easter than to hear the words, “This I command you: love one another.”

Be assured of my prayers during the entire Easter season. May the 50 days be a time of grace, peace, and deepening of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Happy Easter!

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.”

Published in the March 15, 2024 issue of The Mirror.
Photo Credit: “He is Risen” by Elizabeth, https://www/,@ModernBibleArt