In this Easter season we remember the love of God and the joy that comes to us in the celebration of the Easter mysteries, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! All of the Church is purified, given new life and raised up with Jesus in the singing of the Alleluias and the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus. Alleluia is our victory song as we recall the history of salvation and the gift and mystery of love and grace that has opened a way to new life for us. With the resurrection of Christ Jesus, sin and death are defeated and life is established in the Holy Spirit to be a lasting treasure. We have died with Christ in baptism and now we share in his resurrection and live in the newness of life in his love. Alleluia is a song of praise to God, from the Hebrew, Halle-lu-jah, meaning “praise the Lord”. We sing praises to God because of his wondrous love for us, that he has not forgotten us in the time of our trials and struggles with sin and that he has brought us through the valley of death to a new life of joy and to a share in his divine life which is everlasting. During the Easter celebrations of new life, we can never sing enough Alleluias to our God. There is never enough praise and honor, from the very heart of the Church, that we can give to him and so we endlessly sing Alleluia to our Lord and Savior. To live as Church means to endlessly sing the praises of our God in eucharistic, thanksgiving worship.
This is a season of newness. There are signs of new life all around and we are given the chance once again to share an intimate relationship of love and nearness to our God even now while we are still on our pilgrim journey to his kingdom. What sin has destroyed in us, God has made new in Jesus Christ, through his Spirit of healing and reconciliation. We have been reconciled to the Father, through the Son and now we live in the joy and freedom of the children of God that is given to us through the Holy Spirit, and made visible and available to us through the sacramental life of the Church.
Through our Lenten journey and Holy Week we have been made aware of our poverty because of sin. We all are the spiritually poor who hunger and thirst for new life. We are the beggars of God’s grace to save us and lift us up to new life. We are “a poor Church” and a Church, or assembly, “of the poor”. Easter brings us new hope and new life in the Risen Christ. The Risen Jesus is our hope beyond hope that we can exchange our sorrow for joy, our shame for glory. He is our treasure and we are made rich in his life of glory. This takes place in the heart of the believer and in the heart of the Church.
In one of his first masses as the Holy Father, Pope Francis reflected upon his mission, “I express my desire to serve the Gospel with renewed love, helping the Church to become increasingly, in Christ and with Christ, the fruitful vine of the Lord. All of us together, pastors and members of the faithful, will strive to respond faithfully to the Church’s perennial mission: to bring Jesus Christ to mankind and to lead mankind to an encounter with Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, truly present in the Church and also in every person. This meeting leads us to become new men in the mystery of Grace, kindling in the spirit that Christian joy that is the hundredfold given by Christ to those who welcome him into their lives.”
In this message he reminds us that we must become new persons in Jesus Christ. We are made new by the mystery of Grace and we must kindle within our interior being and spirit a new and authentic joy. We cannot hope to accomplish this without the Risen Christ at the center of our lives. In this time of crisis in the Church, the Church needs to be renewed in the love of Jesus Christ. We do not need a “new Church” but a renewed Church in the hearts of the faithful. The Church remains the Body of the Risen Christ and we still must proclaim: “How beautiful is the Body of the Risen Christ now clothed in glory!”
Jesus Christ is risen today. Today is a new day, the first day, when all things are fresh and filled with hope. Alleluia! Let us live this day in joy and set out once again on our pilgrim journey, moving forward into a future of hope and walking always with the Risen Lord. Let us walk always in communion with the Church, on the road that is Christ Jesus our Risen Lord and Savior – the only road that will lead us to new life, Eternal Life, in the company of the saints who have been and continue to be living witnesses to his continuing Real Presence among us.
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