April 16, 2022 Column Father De Celles

Blessed and Happy Easter! Today we celebrate: Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere! Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Thanks to all who worked so hard to help make this such a blessed Lent, Holy Week, Triduum and Easter Sunday. And remember, today is just the beginning of this new Season of Easter, as we continue to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection until Pentecost. Today we begin with the 8 days of the Octave of Easter, celebrating each day as if it were Easter Day.

          On behalf of myself, Fr. Horkan and Fr. Rippy, may I wish you all a Blessed, Holy and Happy Easter and Easter Season! May the Risen Lord Jesus shower you with His grace, and may His Blessed Mother Mary, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Peter, and St. John and all the holy women, disciples and apostles who saw the risen Lord that first Easter Day keep you in their care in this Glorious Season! And may our beloved St. Raymond continue to protect you in the days to come.

Fr. Daly. Fr Daly is doing well, though still having a hard time walking and struggling with stamina. He continues to be grateful for our prayers, and asks them to continue. He hopes to make an appearance at a Sunday Mass sometime soon…

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

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Holy Saturday, 3 April 2021

The women thought they would find a body to anoint; instead they found an empty tomb.  They went to mourn the dead; instead they heard a proclamation of life.  For this reason, the Gospel tells us, the women “were seized with trembling and amazement” (Mk 16:8); they were filled with trembling, fear and amazement.  Amazement.  A fear mingled with joy that took their hearts by surprise when they saw the great stone before the tomb rolled away and inside a young man in a white robe.  Wonder at hearing the words: “Do not be afraid!  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has risen” (v. 6).  And a message: “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him” (v. 7).  May we too accept this message, the message of Easter.  Let us go to Galilee, where the Risen Lord has gone ahead of us.  Yet what does it mean “to go to Galilee”?

          To go to Galilee means, first, to begin anew.  For the disciples it meant going back to the place where the Lord first sought them out and called them to follow him.  The place of their first encounter and the place of their first love.  From that moment on, leaving their nets behind, they followed Jesus, listening to his preaching and witnessing the miracles he performed.  Yet, though they were always with him, they did not fully understand him.  Frequently they misunderstood his words and in the face of the cross they abandoned him and fled.  Even so, the Risen Lord once more appears as the one who goes ahead of them to Galilee.  He precedes them.  He stands before them and constantly calls them to follow him.  He says to them: “Let us start over from where we began.  Let us begin anew.  I want you to be with me again, in spite of everything”.  In this Galilee, we learn to be amazed by the Lord’s infinite love, which opens new trails along the path of our defeats.This is how the Lord is: he creates new paths on the road of our defeats.  This is how he is; and he invites us to Galilee to do this.

          This is the first Easter message that I would offer you: it is always possible to begin anew, because there is always a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures.  From the rubble of our hearts – and each one of us knows the rubble of our hearts – God can create a work of art; from the ruined remnants of our humanity, God can prepare a new history.  He never ceases to go ahead of us: in the cross of suffering, desolation and death, and in the glory of a life that rises again, a history that changes, a hope that is reborn.  In these dark months of the pandemic, let us listen to the Risen Lord as he invites us to begin anew and never lose hope.

Going to Galilee also means setting out on new paths.  It means walking away from the tomb.  The women were looking for Jesus in the tomb; they went to recall what they had experienced with him, which was now gone forever.  They went to indulge in their grief.  There is a kind of faith that can become the memory of something once beautiful, now simply to be recalled.  Many people – including us – experience such a “faith of memories”, as if Jesus were someone from the past, an old friend from their youth who is now far distant, an event that took place long ago, when they attended catechism as a child.  A faith made up of habits, things from the past, lovely childhood memories, but no longer a faith that moves me, or challenges me.  Going to Galilee, on the other hand, means realizing that faith, if it is to be alive, must get back on the road.  It must daily renew the first steps of the journey, the amazement of the first encounter.  And it must continue to trust, not thinking it already knows everything, but embracing the humility of those who let themselves be surprised by God’s ways….

This, then, is the second message of Easter: faith is not an album of past memories; Jesus is not outdated.  He is alive here and now.  He walks beside you each day, in every situation you are experiencing, in every trial you have to endure, in your deepest hopes and dreams.  He opens new doors when you least expect it, he urges you not to indulge in nostalgia for the past or cynicism about the present.  Even if you feel that all is lost, please, let yourself be open to amazement at the newness Jesus brings: he will surely surprise you….

          Dear sister, dear brother: if on this night you are experiencing an hour of darkness, a day that has not yet dawned, a light dimmed or a dream shattered, go, open your heart with amazement to the message of Easter: “Do not be afraid, he has risen!  He awaits you in Galilee”.  Your expectations will not remain unfulfilled, your tears will be dried, your fears will be replaced by hope.  For the Lord always goes ahead of you, he always walks before you.  And, with him, life always begins anew.