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"The Lord is truly risen, alleluia!"


The above antiphon taken from today's Mass of Easter Sunday is a song of praise that bursts forth from the disciple's heart.  The antiphon is an emergence of praise from a disciple whose life has been altered.  No longer is death the final answer as we now profess the Resurrection of Jesus and the "Resurrection of the Dead."

Pope Francis wrote that we re often mistaken in the way that we look at death.  Our tendency is to look at death as complete loss.  The end.  Consider all of the anxiety, fear and sleeplessness that we experience when our life or the life of a loved one is threatened.  When death does arrive we may often find ourselves shocked, discouraged, despairing, angered or resentful.  Maybe we experience all of these interior states.  This sorrowful way of approaching death, whether it is our own or a loved one's, is a default position, ie., it is our automatic way of thinking about it.  

As Christians we are called to "put on the mind of Christ".  St. Paul states, "we don't want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope" (1 Thess. 4:13).

Christianity has something of great value to offer each one of us:  another way of approaching the inevitability and reality of death.  Pope Francis writes, "Jesus' Resurrection does not only give us the certainty of life after death, it also illumines the very mystery of the death of each one of us.  If we lived united with Jesus, faithful to him, we will also be able to face the passage of death with hope and serenity".

This is awesome news and make me want to cry out, "The Lord is truly risen, alleluia!"  What if we received and embraced the Holy Spirit's gift of faith in the Resurrection of Jesus?  Our lives would be altered.  Our values would shift, our fears would diminish and our joy would increase.  Although we would experience sadness and tears at the times of death, the Resurrection of Christ would anchor us in the hope of heaven.

Brothers and Sisters, I invite you to take some time this week to reflect on the significance of the Resurrection for your life.  Ask the hard questions, "do I really believe that Jesus rose from the dead?; Do I fear my own death and the death of my loved ones in a way that is reflective more of a person who does not believe in the Resurrection of Jesus?; What might change in my life if I embraced the good news of the Resurrection with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength?  May the Holy Spirit lead you to respond with St. Paul:

"Death is swallowed up in victory.  Where, O death is your victory?  Where, O death is your sting?" (1 Cor. 15:55)

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Father John F. Jirak, Pastor
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