EASTER SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD
Happy Easter everyone! Today we celebrate the truth that Jesus rose from the dead. When he did that, he proved that all he had ever said was true. In rising, he also gave hope to all of us that this, our earthly existence, is not all there is, but that an eternity awaits us. And of course it should be remembered that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, that it has not even dawned on us, what God has in store for those who love him.
A very special welcome to all of our visitors and guests today. We typically see a lot of people on our two big holy days of the year that we don’t recognize. So maybe you are indeed guests of a parishioner, or perhaps you just decided to drop in and worship with us on this special day. If you fit into that second category, I would like to impress upon you the importance of having a parish home and to come together with family on a regular basis; that is, to be in relationship with God and with neighbor.
Every Catholic Church is uniquely the home of God. That can be understood in a number of different ways. First, and most important, it should be understood literally. The red vigil lamp up front is an indicator that Jesus is present with us in the tabernacle. It is like a sign that says “the doctor is in”. The bread that has been consecrated by the priest at mass is reserved there. And His presence there is the fulfillment of the promise He made it to us that He would never leave us or forsake us. That He would not leave us orphans, and that He would be with us all days, even to the end of the age.
To be understood in a more figurative sense, God is present in His people—parishes are communities made up of many individuals, all with different personalities; like-minded in one respect, but very diverse as well. Not unlike your families.
Holy Spirit parish strives to be welcoming and not judgmental. We try to recognize that we are all on a journey, but that we walk at different paces and are in different places. In imitation of Jesus who imitated His father, we welcome back our prodigal children whenever they have strayed.
Now it should be noted that all families have some dysfunction, and that’s certainly true here as well. But we should remember what our Holy Father, Pope Francis, recently said about the Church, both Universal and local, which is that we are something like a “field hospital” where we care for the wounded. And just as there are many different types of wounds, there are also many different types of treatment. Let me give some examples of what we do here at our own “hospital”. In addition to the Eucharist and the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick, we have Bible studies and prayer groups. We have a healing ministry. We have a social service ministry called the St. Vincent dePaul Society and we have a school. We recently introduced a program called Alpha which seeks to re-evangelize not only ourselves, but also to share the “good news” with the community beyond our doors.
Yes, we are a very active family here and a lot of love and service happens here on a daily basis. And so, I encourage any of you who are not regular attendees, to sign up, somewhere, and to take a seat at table in God’s home and to participate in His family’s life.
I went to see “The Shack” and I anticipate seeing “The Case for God” sometime soon. I think I could recommend both movies as being helpful in our understanding of God. It’s always helpful to read a review or two about any religious movie. Stephan Greydanus of decentfilms.com is a reliable source.
A special thank you to all who helped decorate the church and prepare for all of the liturgies of Holy Week. And we certainly want to welcome Vicki and Janet who came into our Church at the Easter Vigil.
The office will be closed on Monday, but we will be having Masses at the regularly scheduled times throughout the week. As for me, I think I’m going to lay kind of low and get in some rest and relaxation.
Just a reminder that the Divine Mercy Novena has begun and will conclude with Divine Mercy Sunday next week. The special service will begin at three o’clock in the afternoon.
And remember that we are inaugurating a time of healing prayer after all the Masses next Sunday. If you have any prayer needs, please stop by and we will be happy to pray with you and for you.