03-31-2013Weekly ReflectionFr. Jack O’Kane

Happy Easter! Today we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord with the entire Catholic Church around the world. The salvation of the world promised to us by God from the first fall of man by Adam is achieved by Jesus Christ when He conquered the power of death and rose to new life. At a time when all seemed lost, when evil appeared to triumph, when Innocence hung on cross and was placed in a tomb, God's glory emerged to show that He is Lord of all.

Imagine the fear of Jesus' disciples as they watched Him crucified from a distance. How disheartened they must have been when he was placed in the tomb. How fearful they were, wondering what might happen to them. "What now?" they probably thought. And then, on the third day, that first Easter morning, the women arrived from the empty tomb to tell the apostles Jesus is not in the tomb. The puzzlement. The wonder. The excitement, joy, and fear all rolled into one. Running to the tomb to find the women's account true, they came to believe that the Lord had risen from the dead and their lives were changed. The world was changed. How can this be? The dead do not arise?

On the road to Emmaus after His resurrection, Jesus encounters two disciples who do not recognize Him until the breaking of the bread. Upon realizing who He is, they immediately recall how their hearts were burning inside them at their encounter with the Risen Lord. He is not dead! He is alive. Today and at every Mass we encounter that same Risen Lord in the Eucharist that we might be united with Him physically and spiritually. Are not our hearts burning inside of us today at the thought of this great gift – eternal life with Christ our Savior?

We celebrate many holidays with family and friends. Usually we have a nice meal, a social gathering where we share memories and stories and good times past. This is also true of Easter. Easter however, must be more to us than just a holiday. It must be a Holy Day. There is time for enjoying and celebrating with loved ones and sitting down to dinner with family but at the center of this day of days is something ethereal, other worldly. It is eternal life. It is hard for us to truly comprehend what that means, but at its simplest and most basic it means that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to save us from our sins. The darkness of death gives way today to newness of life just as the darkness and cold of winter is overcome by the warmth and light and re-birth of spring.

Take some time this day to ponder what the resurrection means in your life. Be filled with the puzzlement and wonder of God's love for you. Allow your hearts to burn with love from the encounter with Jesus Christ. He invites you and I to peer into the empty tomb and believe in the immensity of His love for us. To believe that this world which so often seems broken and abandoned was healed in that moment of the resurrection and you and I were healed along with it.

May the Peace of the Risen Lord be with your families today and throughout this entire year.

Father Jack