From the Pastor's Desk
Welcome to the Church of the Little Flower for the Solemnity of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a joy to be together today, Easter Sunday 2017, as we usher in a new springtime of grace and embrace a reinvigoration of the practice of our treasured Catholic faith in the spirit of the Risen Lord. Todayís celebration is the pinnacle of our liturgical year as Catholics and is the culmination of what we do here Sunday after Sunday and day after day as followers of the Risen Christ. In the light of eternity, itís hard to imagine not wanting to live in the wake of his holy Resurrection all the time, all year-round!
Although Easter Sunday holds primacy of place in our liturgical tradition, the Scripture readings today, and for the next 50 days, will also beautifully remind us of the evidence of our Lordís Resurrection and his many post-Easter appearances. There are many moments to consider: the Resurrection of Christ on that first Easter Sunday morn; the stunned Roman guards; the amazed Mary Magdalene; the discovery and visit of the empty tomb by Peter and John; the burial clothes laid to the side of the place where the Lord had lain; the appearance of the Lord to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus; the appearance of Christ to the Apostles in the locked Upper Room; the seaside breakfast shared by the Risen Christ and the Apostles; the experience of Jesus walking along the shore as the Apostles were fishing in the boat; the appearance of the Risen One to more than 5,000 men at once; the Apostles being eye witnesses of the glorious Ascension of Christ on the 40th day after Easter; and the miraculous sending of the Holy Spirit of God at Pentecost to the nascent Church. On the heels of so many miracles, healings, and conversions of heart, all these additional wonders point to the momentous nature of the Christ event and his glorious Resurrection from the dead. No wonder the Apostles went forth with Easter faith to the known ends of the world with this message of good news and hope. The world has never been the same! And we are the beneficiaries of the many graces of that first Easter Sunday!
Todayís celebration with its beauty, solemnity and joy only scratches the surface of the celestial banquet and the eternity which awaits those who faithfully follow the Risen Once and live for him while on earth. Thereís nothing part-time, seasonal, or occasional about being a follower of Jesus Christ. His risen presence must hold sway over our daily lives, our words, deeds, and decisions. How this plays out in the Christian sense of the word is the legacy of faith that we leave behind as we prepare ourselves to follow his lead unto eternity.
One of the most significant places that I visited during my recent visit to the Holy Land was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. On one side of the Church is the steep staircase that pilgrims ascend to visit Mount Calvary, the place where the Cross of Christ once stood. My fellow 49 pilgrims and I were on our hands and knees, touching and reverencing that spot. On the floor level of this great church is the slab of marble on which Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, had placed the body of the dead-Jesus to wash his body, perfume it, and wrap it for burial. Our pilgrimage group, likewise, reverenced this slab of marble with great tenderness and devotion. We also then entered yet another sacred place in this historical basilica: the empty tomb of Christ. Holy awe filled each of, as we again dropped to our knees and affectionately, gratefully, even tearfully, acknowledged the mystery of Christís love for us in his life, death and Resurrection. Itís hard to imagine not wanting to live in the wake of the Resurrection all the time, all year-round!
May what we do here today create a new spiritual impetus that leads us to walk with the Risen Christ more closely each and every day until at last we reach the celestial and eternal banquet that knows no end.