During this Lent, we have seen our A & P Catholics. A & P stands for Ashes and Palms. As we enter into the season of Easter, we might meet some of our ACME Catholics. ACME stands for Always Christmas Maybe Easter.
Easter is an indication of the strength and destiny of our faith. The light of Easter begins what the gloom of Good Friday started. The glow of Easter begins when the darkness of Holy Saturday ends.
Faith communicates what is beyond death. We see the freedom and liberty of our hearts pulsating and throbbing from the imprisonment and confinement of the grave. We sense the triumph of goodness in the garden owned by Joseph of Arimathea over and above the sin of disobedience in the garden lent to Eve and Adam. We feel the victory of life over death. And this we all believe.
It is in this Christian wealth and treasury of faith, that some of us have known from birth through adulthood, that we welcome new members of our Church at this Easter Vigil. It is in this human instrument of grace we call our Roman Catholic Church that we receive them into full communion.
They know about our awesome God, who never gets tired in reminding her Church to be holy. They know about the Catholic religion that traces its origin back to Jesus and now that they are part of us, they know that we have a different way of calling things.
The only part of a prayer that everyone knows is Amen. Your receipt for attending Mass and also your reading material when my homily gets boring is called the Bulletin. Incense is the other word for Holy Smoke!
They have also learned about things we do in Church. There is the processional. It is the ceremonial formation at the beginning of the Mass consisting of the altar servers, the deacon, the celebrant and late parishioners looking for seats. And there is also the recessional, which is again another ceremonial procession at the conclusion of the Mass. This time, though, it is led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.
Easter is also a confirmation of the power of hope. Our lives can sometimes be too complicated to understand. It would take noise to appreciate silence, sadness to know happiness and the symbol of the Cross to get to Eternal Paradise.
Fortunately, there is always hope for us. God continually carries us through our different burdens and challenges in life. We may have fallen. We may have been away from God and the Church. We may have been critical, judgmental and skeptical about our lives and that of others.
But there is one thing we can never deny. It is the fact that God loves us immensely. That Jesus loves you and me. No matter when, what and why. And this He has shown again in the power of His resurrection.
God gave us His very best. The world He created was not enough. The prophets he sent were not enough. The beauty of creation was not enough. And the God who is more than enough sent the best He ever had in the person of Jesus, his dearly and only Beloved Son.
What best have we offered to God? The best that we have given is not just a return for what he shared. The best that we have given may not be what we have left for ourselves. The best that we can give, the best that we can offer, the best that we can entrust to the God who died and lived, is simply the gift of life.
Living life and loving life are realities of what we are all called to be: a life of holiness, a life with God, a life of living love.
Easter is a witness to the dignity of love. God planned that we should all go back to Him. Home is where our heart is. Heaven is our only place.
When we decide for ourselves what we think is good for us, when we think for ourselves what we choose is better for us, and when we choose for ourselves what we decide is best for us, Easter has no place for in our lives.
Rising from Good Friday’s mountain of sacrifice through Holy Saturday’s tomb of loneliness, we become an Easter people. There is Easter because there is God. Without God, there cannot or could there ever be one. There is Easter because of Jesus. Without Jesus, there would not or would there ever be one. There is Easter because Jesus is God. And with God, we hope not to do what we should not do, but to be, to live and to love as one.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
4 April 2010