Happy Easter! He has risen! He has Risen indeed! Easter is the very heart of our faith. It is the reason why Jesus was sent by the Father - to die for us and rise again. This mission of Jesus was to ultimately show us how much we are loved by the Father. Our Father wants to spend eternity with us in Heaven, and so, He sacrifices His Son so that we may live forever with Him. Divinity lowers itself into humanity so that humanity can be raised up through the Resurrection to share in divinity. This is what lies at the heart of our faith.
I know over the last two years it may seem like we have been living more in the Garden of Gethsemane rather than sharing the Resurrection of our Lord. Everyone has had to make so many sacrifices and it feels like we are being led to where we do not want to go. Jesus’ prayer in the Garden rings true, ‘Father, let this cup pass from me’. Father, let these times pass. But Jesus doesn’t remain in the task of crucifixion and permit it to dissuade Him from His mission. ‘It is for this purpose that I have come’. Earlier, when Peter disagrees with Jesus’ mission to die for the sake of the world, Jesus responds to him, ‘Get behind me Satan’. Jesus’ mission is to sacrifice Himself and the pleasantries of this world to show us the path to the Father.
This brings us to a very important question - What is your mission in life? This is a perfect time, in the middle of a pandemic, war, and all the other uncertainties of this world, to answer this question. After Jesus dies and rises from the dead, in His Resurrected form, Saint Thomas asks Jesus in the Gospel of John, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus responds, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through Me’.
Being in the Garden with Jesus is not a bad place to be. It may seem like a dark place, where suffering and death exist, but it is actually a beautiful garden full of rich soil and spiritual opportunity. It allows us to see how suffering and sacrifice can be our Way. Suffering and sacrifice refine us like iron and makes us look at ourselves and others through God’s eyes i.e. the Truth. And the Way leads us to the Life promised to us as we walk with Him to the Cross, bury our passions and our will in the tomb, and are Resurrected with Him as true, authentic Catholics. This is the Life that He wants us to lead. This is our Mission. It is HIS mission. We can’t be good Catholics without the crosses in our life. Without them, we do not know the Way, we cannot know the Truth, and we cannot possess the Life. In short, we can’t truly know Jesus. And the end of our Mission is the same as Jesus’ - to be with the Father.
This Easter, we remember those in particular both inside and outside of our Parish family that have had to sacrifice and suffer so much the last two years. Specifically, all of our first responders who have worked tirelessly to help others, those who have gotten sick, those who have had to take care of their family members who are sick, those who have had to refrain from coming to church and worshiping with us in person, and especially those beloved of ours who have died. We remember the people of Ukraine and Russia. We remember this Easter of the great love our Father has for each one of us and of our mission which is the same as Jesus’. We pray for the ability to attach all of our sufferings and sacrifices to the Cross of Christ and know the great power of the Resurrection in our lives. May our Father give us hope through the Resurrection and point us towards what is the very center of our faith - that our Lord Jesus has Risen from the dead and that we are a Resurrected people through Him. Let us rejoice and be glad!
May the Lord give you His Peace,