Second Sunday of Easter

April 21, 2019 Column Father De Celles

Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere! Christos Anesti!
Alithos Anesti! He is risen! He is risen indeed! What a
glorious day—the Lord has risen from the dead, conquering
sin and death and has crushed the head of the ancient serpent.
Alleluia! The world has been redeemed, salvation has been
won for all mankind—if only we will accept this infinitely
generous gift of Our Risen Lord Jesus.
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 celebr ate the Lor d’s
Resurrection for 50 days—until Pentecost. 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. Smith, and Fr. Daly, 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!
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles
We began this celebration outside, plunged
in the darkness of the night and the cold. We felt an oppressive
silence at the death of the Lord, a silence with which each of
us can identify, a silence that penetrates to the depths of the
heart of every disciple, who stands wordless before the cross.
These are the hours when the disciple stands
speechless in pain at the death of Jesus. What words can be
spoken at such a moment? The disciple keeps silent in the
awareness of his or her own reactions during those crucial
hours in the Lord’s life. Before the injustice that condemned
the Master, His disciples were silent. Before the calumnies
and the false testimony that the Master endured, His disciples
said nothing. During the trying, painful hours of the Passion,
His disciples dramatically experienced their inability to put
their lives on the line to speak out on behalf of the Master.
What is more, not only did they not acknowledge Him: they
hid, they escaped, they kept silent (cf. Jn 18:25-27).
It is the silent night of the disciples who
remained numb, paralyzed and uncertain of what to do amid
so many painful and disheartening situations. It is also that of
today’s disciples, speechless in the face of situations we
cannot control, that make us feel and, even worse, believe that
nothing can be done to reverse all the injustices that our
brothers and sisters are experiencing in their flesh.
It is the silent night of those disciples who
are disoriented because they are plunged in a crushing
routine that robs memory, silences hope and leads to thinking
that “this is the way things have always been done”. Those
disciples who, overwhelmed, have nothing to say and end up
considering “normal” and unexceptional the words of
Caiaphas: “Can you not see that it is better for you to have one
man die for the people than to have the whole nation
destroyed?” (Jn 11:50).
Amid our silence, our overpowering silence,
the stones begin to cry out (cf. Lk 19:40)[1] and to clear the
way for the greatest message that history has ever heard: “He
is not here, for He has been raised” (Mt 28:6). The stone
before the tomb cried out and proclaimed the opening of a new
way for all. Creation itself was the first to echo the triumph of
life over all that had attempted to silence and stifle the joy of
the Gospel. The stone before the tomb was the first to leap up
and in its own way intone a song of praise and wonder, of joy
and hope, in which all of us are invited to join.
Yesterday, we joined the women in
contemplating “the one who was pierced” (cf. Jn 19:36; cf.
Zech 12:10). Today, with them, we are invited to contemplate
the empty tomb and to hear the words of the angel: “Do not be
afraid… for He has been raised” (Mt 28:5-6). Those words
should affect our deepest convictions and certainties, the ways
we judge and deal with the events of our daily lives, especially
the ways we relate to others. The empty tomb should challenge
us and rally our spirits. It should make us think, but above all it
should encourage us to trust and believe that God “happens”
in every situation and every person, and that His light can
shine in the least expected and most hidden corners of our
lives. He rose from the dead, from that place where nobody
waits for anything, and now He waits for us – as He did the
women – to enable us to share in His saving work. On this
basis and with this strength, we Christians place our lives and
our energy, our intelligence, our affections and our will, at the
service of discovering, and above all creating, paths of dignity.
He is not here… He is risen! This is the
message that sustains our hope and turns it into concrete
gestures of charity. How greatly we need to let our frailty be
anointed by this experience! How greatly we need to let our
faith be revived! How greatly we need our myopic horizons to
be challenged and renewed by this message! Christ is risen,
and with Him, He makes our hope and creativity rise, so that
we can face our present problems in the knowledge that we are
not alone.
To celebrate Easter is to believe once more
that God constantly breaks into our personal histories,
challenging our “conventions”, those fixed ways of thinking
and acting that end up paralyzing us. To celebrate Easter is to
allow Jesus to triumph over the craven fear that so often
assails us and tries to bury every kind of hope.
The stone before the tomb shared in this, the
women of the Gospel shared in this, and now the invitation is
addressed once more to you and to me. An invitation to break
out of our routines and to renew our lives, our decisions and
our existence. An invitation that must be directed to where we
stand, what we are doing and what we are, with the “power
ratio” that is ours. Do we want to share in this message of life
or do we prefer simply to continue standing speechless before
events as they happen?
He is not here… He is raised! And He awaits
you in Galilee. He invites you to go back to the time and place
of your first love and He says to you: Do not be afraid, follow