The gift of the resurrection is unlike the gifts we receive at Christmas, packaged all nice and neat. It is not something that we simply grasp and then move on as if nothing happened. Coming to appreciate the depth of Easter’s meaning is more like peering into an infinitely deep well, and finding oneself able to draw water and new life from it again and again. Indeed, there is much to fathom here.
Easter is 50 days long – you could say longer than Lent on purpose – to give us time to reflect and celebrate these Easter Mysteries. During this time of Easter, we follow the Apostles and the Early Church as they likewise needed to figure out how to come to terms with everything they experienced. “Now what?” seemed to be the unexpressed question on everyone’s mind and heart. Some decided to visit the garden and cemetery where Jesus was laid to rest. Some decided to go to pack it up and go home taking the road to Emmaus. Some hunkered down in the Upper Room. Some shared stories. Some questioned. Some decided to go fishing. Jesus appeared to them on many occasions, helping them to understand their experience, helping them to find peace amidst their dashed hopes and grief, and eventually sending his Spirit upon them to help them go forward and carry on in the new life that had been opened up to them. And go forward they did! Despite all odds, the early Church took off and spread throughout the world because of their witness to the risen Christ and their service in his name. And even that took a lot of figuring out and discerning just how God was moving in their lives. That we follow along with the Acts of the Apostles is not so much a history lesson but a chance for ourselves to follow them as they began to understand for themselves just how the resurrection changed and transformed their lives forever!
This deepening of our experience has a fancy name in the Church: Mystagogy – the pondering and living out of the mysteries of faith as well as of those sacraments in which we encounter Jesus. Right now, Mystagogy is one of the most important things we can do, because Easter is not merely an end (of Lent, of death, etc.), but a beginning of something new. God has indeed done great things and has an awesome plan for your life that will fill you with joy! It’s important that we take stock of these things for ourselves: how has God appeared to me in my life? In this liturgical season? In this past week? Right now? Where is God leading, that I may follow? What is the life that God has opened up for me? May we, like the apostles before us, come to know for ourselves that Easter joy and always witness to that by the way we live.
Like the apostles who leave us their example of coming to know God in a deeper way, so too we have the lives of the saints who have continued to plumb the depths of God’s love. Among whom is St. Faustina, who received the vision of Divine Mercy, which is on display in our Church and Chapel. Owing to her experience of Jesus’ grace, today is Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the world. This presents for us a wonderful opportunity for us to contemplate God’s merciful love towards us, to pray out of that, and to imitate God’s mercy ourselves. Where would the world be without it? Consider praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet today, either by yourself or with the community. Moreover, the Divine Mercy chaplet is prayed after weekday Mass. And the invitation is open as well to come to the sacrament of Reconciliation to experience that mercy for yourself.
Lastly, I want to take a moment here, once again, to thank everyone who helped make the Holy Week and Easter Triduum celebrations so meaningful and special for our parish community: the planners, the decorators, the musicians, the lectors, the ushers, the Eucharistic ministers, the clergy… and many more. A thank you to all who participated and joined us! And all praise to God who is the reason for the season, and who continuously supplies his grace to us – Thank you Lord!