One Community Filled with Hope

 In Pastor's Notes-Fr. Ritche

“Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed” This was how St. Matthew described the reaction of the women disciples of Jesus after hearing from the angel: “Do not be afraid, I know you are looking for Jesus the crucified.  He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.”

Last Sunday for me felt like the first Easter Sunday.  Like the women who went to the tomb I was overjoyed to see so many of our parishioners gathered to celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord’s resurrection.  It felt like the stone has been “rolled away” allowing us to get out of our locked upped rooms to proclaim that Christ indeed is risen from the dead.  The church was filled with hope – that we could fill up our church to capacity once again to celebrate as ONE community the love of God for us.

The community was filled with much rejoicing upon seeing each other again after more than a year into this pandemic.  People greeting each other and telling each other how much they miss one another.  There was laughter and joy for being able to come back personally to the Holy Spirit Parish.

I was in awe. I saw love; I saw one big family; I saw faith; I witnessed the Spirit’s presence; I witnessed Christ resurrection in our midst.

On that first Easter day the angel says: “Do not be afraid.”  Today, the Risen Lord tells us the same thing.  Yes, we are still in the midst of the pandemic.  Yes, there is still much to do. Yes, there is still so much trouble around us nationally and globally, but Jesus motivates us not to be afraid.  The feast of the resurrection is both a reminder and an assurance that we have a God who is committed to us, faithful to us, someone who cares for us, someone who loves us.

The stone has been rolled away for us to see the light of hope.  But we cannot be complacent.  We still need to do our part.  We need to work together in mitigating the spread of the virus.  We need to face hatred with love; misunderstanding with meaningful dialogue; division with unity; dissension and discord with healing and reconciliation.

Easter reminds us that though we continue to face darkness and difficulties in life, we go through them with courage, for today as on Easter day we are strengthened by our faith in the risen Christ.  We carry a desire and prayer in our hearts as St. Ignatius of Loyola once said, “To see God is all things, and to see all things in God.” That is what Easter means; that Jesus is risen, God is alive and is present, in our world, in one another, and in most specially, our hearts!

Happy and Blessed Easter Season to all of you!

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