Certainly, the greatest of childhood memories for me and my siblings around Easter Sunday mornings were Mass at Church – dressed to the nines, of course – and happy family gatherings. For sure, my siblings and I took advantage – as do all children – of the many sweets we had given up for Lent and overindulged in the many tasty foods fitting of the great Easter Feast. And yes, we knew and believed what we truly celebrate every Easter that, “He is Risen, He has truly Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!” but as adults, we’ve certainly come to understand and appreciate that the resurrection means so much more!
Like many Christians, all of us have journeyed the forty days of Lent, offered up intentional acts of self-sacrifice, made ourselves a self-gift to others in every – well, almost every – circumstance and spent more time in prayer, all with the desire to experience even just a ‘sliver’ of Christ’s own forty long days in the desert… “to be tempted by the devil. (And) He ate nothing during these days …” (Luke 4:2) After Jesus refuted and renounced the three temptations of Satan, He “returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14) to begin His public ministry proclaiming the Kingdom of GOD. And after the Resurrection, this became the great public ministry of the Disciples and, therefore, must be our ministry, too… without exception!
Often today, for all practical purposes, the ‘world’ and the ‘flesh’ consider Jesus ‘dead’ in their lives and, in turn, effectively go about their lives without consideration for God in their daily acts and decisions. In fact, Saint John Paul II anticipated this reality some forty years ago when his writings, homilies and speeches challenged Catholics not to live as ‘practical atheists.’ By this he meant those who may even attend Sunday Mass but spend the other six days of the week without consideration for Christ in their lives. Sometimes we, too, find ourselves in such a place when we effectively live without a real sense of Christ’s victory over our own sinfulness and let the fear of death determine our choices. We catch ourselves thinking, saying and doing things that are counter‑Christian instead of counter‑cultural!
All four Gospels definitively declare for us that Jesus is raised from the dead! For this reason, we too can proclaim, “He is Risen, He has truly Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!” It is for this reason that we no longer should look to the ‘world’ for purpose or direction, or to the ‘flesh’ for satisfaction and pleasure. We must allow ourselves to be asked daily the same question the angel asked the women at the tomb on that first Easter Sunday morning, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but He has been raised.” (Lk 24:5-6) Everything in our lives is different with this Good News and we therefore look to Christ Risen to go forth like the first disciples to share this truth with all peoples … without exception!
If ever we begin to doubt or become hesitant to share this Good News, we only have to look to our own little saintly Christina Dangond for inspiration, for strength. Every day of her illness, she would simply declare the Victory of Christ over sin and death with those precious words: “JESUS, I Trust in YOU!” Her vibrant faith … truly supernatural… would make no sense if Christ had not risen from the dead. And even more so, it was when the cancer became increasingly more pervasive in her body that her trust and abiding joy increased proportionally.
This Easter, let the Good News that Jesus is Risen enter more deeply into your heart, and set about like the early disciples and 2,000 years of saints – young and old – telling the whole world why we believe what we believe:
“He is Risen, He has truly Risen!”
Fr. Ed was ordained to the priesthood in May 2000 for the Archdiocese of Boston. He held three different parish assignments in the Archdiocese from 2000-2010 before his appointment to the Faculty of Saint John’s Seminary, where he was Dean of Men and Director of Pastoral Formation from 2010-2022. Fr. Ed is currently the Administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Waltham, MA and Spiritual Director & Liaison for the Office for Homeschooling of the Archdiocese of Boston. He is the Spiritual Director for the World Apostolate of Fatima in the Archdiocese and a perpetually professed member of the Institute of Jesus the Priest of the Pauline Family.