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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

As with so many things, we celebrated the full rites of Palm Sunday last weekend, for the first time since 2019. Many times we have to guess what the attendance will be. This year, it was a "double" guess because for one thing the public schools had begun their spring break and for a second thing, the ever present Covid 19 is still having an effect on everything we do. Consequently we underestimated the numbers who would come to church and, therefore, didn't have enough palm. I apologize if you didn't get palm. We'll try to do better next year. By the way, if you didn't catch the pictures of the procession from Vet's Field, go to the homepage of the website and you'll find the link, directly under the ad for the housekeeping position. The pictures are really great and I think you'll enjoy them. Thank you to everyone who came for Mass last Sunday. I know it was a lift to all our spirits.

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 have experienced in these last two years, 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, and last year was better than the year before when we were locked out of our churches. Last year, we could have live people in our churches but many of the rites of Holy Week were truncated. This year, we have been able to celebrate the most solemn days in the memory of the Church's Lord as they were intended to be celebrated. On Holy Thursday, we remembered the institution of the Eucharist and Christ's pledge of service (and call to serve) in the washing of the feet. On Good Friday, we remembered the God-death, the suffering and death of Jesus in whose blood our sins are given. But this weekend we rejoice in the Resurrection of that same God-man who brings us out of the tomb with him, from darkness into the light. And the Church proclaims to us and to the world the reason for her rejoicing in 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 of war and pandemic) 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. 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 God-life was in Him. But Easter is not just a remembrance 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, at the Easter Vigil, that God-life will be given to Gabriela Blacido who has been preparing for baptism and initiation into the Church for more than a year. We rejoice for her and we rejoice with her and we rejoice as Church for that God-life in each of us and we are re-spirited to allow that God-life to shine through us to the world, especially in the darkness of our times.

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 two years, and even though there has been much progress, we are still a people of tired hearts, tired minds and tired souls, as we are inundated with pictures of violence, division, war and cruelty. 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
Christ is Risen. He is Truly Risen.
Fr. Ron


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