Fr. Daniel Gifford
THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE
Happy Easter! He is Risen! Alleluia! Friends, This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it. Alleluia. Jesus IS RISEN. Nothing can change that. It is a reality that is for the present moment, just as it was for 2000 years ago. There is a reason that we say Jesus IS risen and not “Jesus has risen” or “Jesus rose.” He is alive today. We might feel His absence, when we are asked to distance ourselves from the Church and even from one another. We might find it hard to hear His voice, especially with so many other voices screaming so loudly.
This is the difference between His Resurrection and the miracles of raising from the dead, which He granted to Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus or even which the Lord worked through the prophet Elisha in the Old Testament. Those other people later died again. We can have faith that they are alive in heaven today. Still, the Resurrection of Jesus is different. He shall never die again. He ascended into Heaven and is present there today body and soul, until He comes again on the Last Day. And after His Ascension, He sent His Holy Spirit to truly bring His Church into new life. The Risen Christ is alive and well in the Church. One of the principal ways that we encounter Him in the flesh is ordinarily in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. However, consider this. Not only can we unite ourselves to the Eucharist through our Spiritual Offering and our Spiritual Communion, there is still more. He came to live within us - His Holy Spirit - God Himself - truly came to dwell within us, to bring us into the new life of His Resurrection… at our Baptism. He is Risen in you. Take that grace into hand today. Here’s one very important way to do that… Renew the promises of your baptism. This is a VERY important part of how Christians celebrate Easter, by expressly renewing our intention to allow the Risen Christ to live in us. We will do it in the Liturgy, if you view the livestream, but there is also power in a personal celebration of this important act. Do it in your home, whether in quiet with a candle lit and eyes turned toward a crucifix or another image of Our Lord or in a little prayer service with your family: 1) Someone begins with this prayer: “Dear brothers and sisters, through the Paschal Mystery (the Death and Resurrection of Christ) we have been buried with Christ in Baptism, so that we may walk with Him in newness of life. And so, now that our Lenten observance is concluded, let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism, by which we renounced Satan and his works and promised to serve God in the Holy Catholic Church. And so I ask you…
a) Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God? I do.
b) Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no mastery over you? I do.
c) Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin? I do.
d) Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth? I do.
e) Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.
f) Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the Body and life everlasting? I do.
2) Close in prayer together to God, who became your Father at your Baptism, in the words that His Son, Our Lord, taught us: Our Father…. Finally, let us not underestimate the power of our Spiritual Communion. We can truly meet the Risen Jesus in a powerful way by uniting ourselves spiritually to the Eucharist and inviting Him into our hearts. This prayer can and should enrich our lives and our appreciation of the gift of the Eucharist, whether we are presently able to receive Him sacramentally or not. May this time of praying a Spiritual Communion more fervently lead to a devotion to this important form of prayer for the rest of our lives, that we may seek to always allow the Risen Jesus to live within us. THIRD CENTURY TESTIMONY: Here are words of Saint Athanasius, written in the third century, giving testimony to the power of the Mass to grant graces to those not physically present. “The time is now at hand when we enter on a new beginning: the proclamation of the Blessed Passover, in which the Lord was sacrificed. We feed as on the food of life, we constantly refresh our souls with His precious blood, as from a fountain. Yet we are always thirsting, burning to be satisfied. But, He Himself is present for those who thirst and, in His goodness, invites them to the feast day. Our Savior repeats His words: If anyone thirsts, let Him come to me and drink. He quenched the thirst not only of those who came to Him then. Whenever anyone seeks Him, he is freely admitted to the Savior. The grace of the feast is not restricted to one occasion. Its rays of glory never set. It is always at hand to enlighten the mind of those who desire it… God now gives us the joy of salvation that shines out from this feast, as He brings us together to form one assembly, uniting us all in spirit in every place, allowing us to pray together and to offer common thanksgiving, as is our duty on the feast. Such is the wonder of His Love: He gathers to this feast those who are far apart and brings together in unity of faith those who may be physically separated from one another.” In Christ through Mary, Fr. Gifford St. Louis, pray for us! Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!