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Fr. Ron's Blog

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Dear Friends,

In Paul's 1st Letter to the Thessalonians, he writes, "We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope." (1 Thess. 4:13). In the face of death and in the face of all the lesser deaths we experience in life, where do we find that hope. TODAY IS THE FEAST OF HOPE. TODAY IS THE RESURRECTION FEAST. ALL HOPE COMES FROM TODAY'S FEAST. To accept and to believe that life is eternal, that God has created us to live forever in that eternal kingdom is to know that everything else we experience in life is passing, temporary, even the time separated from loved ones who have gone before us. It is passing. Pandemics are passing. What remains is life with God-forever. Thanks to the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.

Easter is better this year than last. Last year we were locked down, and out. Virtual celebrations with only those in church needed to bring the virtual to everyone else. This year, live people can be in the church. But many of the rites of Holy Week have been truncated, as I have been writing. But one thing that was not truncated is the singing of the Exultet, the Church's proclamation of her Easter faith.

I would describe The Exultet as the Church's totally unrestrained (even in these dark days) burst of joy, a shout-it -from-the-housetop, made for MTV, announcement that no one could, or should, miss. Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven. Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness. Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightening of His glory, let this holy building shake with joy (a little hard to do with only 180 people in the church). Words like rejoice, exult, joy and the like are used almost ten times in only twelve lines. Not exactly RAP, but as close to it as you can get in Church song.

Why? The song continues. Christ has conquered! Darkness vanishes! Glory fills you! This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death. when Christians everywhere are freed, when guilt is washed away, innocence is restored, hatred is cast out, when heaven is wedded to earth, when Christ rose from the grave.

And the song closes with a beautiful wish for all of us: "May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death's domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity. How we need to be reminded of this as we struggle against what Paul describes in his First Letter to the Corinthians as Christ's last enemy-death.

When heaven is wedded to earth. That's what the holy song says. It is wedded forever. Jesus could not stay dead because of that God-life. It is also the pledge that the God-life flows in you and me as well. That's why a parish that is blessed to welcome new members finds this to be a very special moment. It's not just because the numbers are increased. It's because, in a special way, it is a reminder to all of us that the God-life is passed into another person. The God-life that you and I were blessed to receive at our own baptisms, that God-life that has lived and continues to live in you and me. That God-life that gives re-birth to tired souls, and hearts and minds as well.

And can we say we don't need it? No one word, no one phrase can describe our national experience today, our global experience today. Many words describe it: death, sickness, fear, anxiety, despair. After struggling with this pandemic for more than a year, with progress that is often tempered with setbacks, with goals achieved and then reversed, we are a people of tired hearts, tired minds and tired souls. The music of Diana Ross and the Supremes (for all of you old-timers) often comes to my mind to express my own longing, Some Day, We'll be Together. In the complexities and confusions of this battle, sapping our strength, clouding our hope, dampening our spirits, weighing heavily on our hearts, how and where can we find the energy, the encouragement, the motivation for the future? Where? As the Easter song says, In the Morning Star which never sets. May He live in you.

May the Morning Star, which never sets, shed His peaceful light on all.

Even in our present state, no, especially in our present state,

A Happy & Blessed Easter
Fr. Ron

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