He Is Risen! Hallelujah!

Our long Lenten journey for this year is over.

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This past weekend, for the 2024th time, the Christian community has, once again, observed the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. On Holy Thursday we celebrated the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist, where Jesus told us to carry it on saying, “Do this in remembrance of me.” We contemplated, again, Judas’ betrayal with a kiss, and Jesus’ arrest at the hands of an angry crowd in the middle of the night. We witnessed his unjust “trial”, unnerved by the cynicism of Pilate and the fear and hate of his own people. We endured the retelling of his torture at the hands of the Roman soldiers as they scourged him and placed a crown of thorns on his head, unaware of the irony. And we said to ourselves, “O, What love is this!”

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On Good Friday, we remembered and were humbled again, by Jesus’ unimaginable suffering as he bore the instrument of his execution, the cross, through the streets of Jerusalem up to Golgotha. We winced as we contemplated the nails being pounded into his hands and feet, and felt our consciences groan when we heard his words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” We experienced, again, the crushing weight of sorrow at his death and burial. And we said to ourselves, in humble recognition, “O, What love is this!” But, just as then, it was not over.

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Easter Morning came! What had seemed to be the ultimate victory of darkness, would not and could not last. With the rising of the sun on the third day, came the rising of the unconquerable Light of the Son, and a brand New Day dawned for all of mankind. Jesus, the one and only Son of God, who is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, had conquered the darkness of sin and death once and for all. And, again, our hearts soared, and our voices rose with shouts of joy! “O, What great love is this!”

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Our long Lenten journey for this year is over. Now we are charged once again to enter into the reality of true discipleship with Jesus. His life, his death, and his Resurrection are our perennial call to discipleship. Are we listening? Do we believe? Do we have the courage to practice all that Jesus said and modeled to us? As we walk our long pilgrimage through this world, we are challenged by Jesus’ life and death to “pick up our own crosses”, to endure the suffering that comes our way in his name. Is this not how we reveal our love for him? Our Easter celebration challenges us again to practice the self-giving commandment of Jesus to love all others, as he loved and continues to love all of us, daily.

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Our annual Lenten journey practices of fasting, extra dedication to prayer and to generous alms-giving are meant to help us deepen our relationship with God. For [it is] in him [that] we live, and move, and have our being…For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28). In Jesus, we come to know and experience God’s unconditional and eternal love for us. His passion and Resurrection, give meaning and purpose to our own suffering, if we bear it in union with him. Lent is over. Easter Morning has come! Let us sing with the psalmist, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad” (Ps 118:24). He Is Risen! Hallelujah!

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