Christus Resurrexit! – April 2021

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.

Acts 4:32

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you this holy season of Easter. Yes, Easter is not just one day. Easter Sunday is the greatest of all Sundays, and Easter Time is the most important of all liturgical times. Easter is the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead, culminating in His Ascension to the Father and sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. There are 50 days of Easter from the first Sunday to Pentecost. The Easter season is characterized, above all, by the joy of glorified life and the victory over death expressed most fully in the great resounding cry of the Christian: Alleluia! All faith flows from faith in the resurrection: “If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith” (1 Cor 15:14).

We spent our days during Lent drawing near to God. Eastertide is always a continuation of what God in union with us has begun—our constant desire to draw near to God, to hear His voice and to live His Word. We hear proclaimed in Scripture about the first community of Christians also trying to discern God’s voice and to form a community of faith. They, like us, encounter discouragement, pain and sorrow. Theirs is not a cry of disappointment; but a joyous song of one heart and mind.

During this Easter season and always, we are called to live as saints. “The saints,” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote, “constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbor from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its realism and depth in their service to others” (Deus Caritas Est, 18). In our living, how does the gift of the Resurrection come alive for us? Through the Eucharist we reflect upon what this means for us in our world.

The unity of the early Christians exemplified the heart of the Church’s faith which is the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, Christ communicates God’s love; a total gift of self whose innermost form and fruit is reciprocal communion. Holy Communion is the Covenant constituted by Christ giving himself to the Father and to the Church. Christ not only gives Himself in the Eucharist, He also receives each of us, as we offer ourselves to Him. A Covenant is not just one-sided, it is mutual in its loving desire, to be one with God as God is one with us. By the act of receiving, we are compelled to selflessly give.

Pope Francis said, “The Church is called to ‘go out’ from its comfort zone and to be leaven of communion.” To be leaven is to be a prevailing influence to modify or transform something for the better. In the Eucharist, we are transformed into leaven of communion, or a Sacrament of

unity and we realize that we are one human family of God. Thus, we participate in communion among ourselves, with our fellow Christians, and with all who seek a future of hope. We become a community of missionary disciples, filled with love of the Lord Jesus and enthusiasm for the spread of the Gospel.

The Eucharist is the bond of love uniting us to Christ to carry out His mission of making known the presence of God in our midst, a God who continues to suffer in our sisters and brothers who are hungry, thirsty, sick and imprisoned. Eucharistic spiritualty must embrace the whole of our lives. As leaven, our transformation through, with and in Christ cannot start and end within the sanctuary of the physical church building.  Instead we bring forth God’s love with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind from the sanctuary of the church building into the sanctuary of God’s earth.  From the rising sun to night’s rest, we live in Holy Communion: God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.  God’s charity, His love flows from our heart to each other.

The gift of the Resurrection is Emmanuel, God with us, yesterday, today and forever. May Christ be the only possession we seek that we might carry out His mission with one heart and mind.