He is Risen as He Said!

In the Gospel at the Easter Vigil when the Church gathers at night to first celebrate the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead, we hear the words spoken to Mary Magdalen by the angel: “I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples.” Today we celebrate the central Mystery of the Christian Faith: Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, gave His life on the Cross to save us from our sins and was raised so we might have Eternal Life. For over 2,000 years, Christians filled with this joy and this freedom have shared this news of Easter joy with others so that they too might know and believe in Jesus risen from the dead.

On this Easter Day I invite you to rejoice in our Risen Savior! My prayer, once again, is that you will be filled with wonder and awe like those first followers who saw the empty tomb and the burial cloths lying there and believed in the promise that He would rise. I pray that you will have an experience of Jesus this Easter that will change your life with newfound faith. It could be like Mary Magdalen who came early to the tomb and heard Jesus call her name. Perhaps you will come to believe that Jesus is walking with you in your doubts and struggles like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Their hearts were burning within them as Jesus explained the Scriptures to them and then they recognized Him in the breaking of the Bread. You might hear Jesus speak to your heart, “peace be with you,” in your time of fear or uncertainty or anxiety like He did when he appeared to the apostles in the upper room. We need to have expectant faith that Jesus does these things in our lives today just as He did two thousand years ago. He calls to us and visits us in our needs that we might believe in Him and do the will of God the Father. And then He wants us to share this news with others because it is too good to keep it to ourselves.

Pope Francis invites us to, “Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: He is life! If up till now you have kept Him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following Him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust Him, be confident that He is close to you, He is with you and He will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as He would have you do.”

Jesus wants to share his very life with you. He wants to give you His freedom. He wants you to be freed from a life that keeps Him at a distance and awake to the fullness of life he offers. This is possible for each and every one of us in a new way this Easter Season. So I say to you in the words of St. Paul, “Awake O sleeper rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

“Christ is risen from the dead

Trampling over death by death

Come awake, come awake!

Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead

We are one with him again

Come awake, come awake!

Come and rise up from the grave”

(from the song Christ is Risen by Matt Maher)

May His joy and peace be with you always! Fr. Paul