FROM FATHER RICK Dear Friends,
Easter is about power and freedom. The power of God to overcome death, and the freedom God has graced us with to choose that gift or not!
The new life offered through Baptism to you and to me is not some esoteric, tasteful experience of a polite God tiptoeing through our lives but rather is the power of an abundant and over gracious God who wants us to live forever, and was willing to die so that we would accept the gift. BUT we are free because of that gift. We can choose over and over to minimalize God, to keep God contained in the tombs of our control so that life is comfortable and neat and tidy—so that we are neither disturbed nor disturbing. Isn’t that what civilized people do?
Easter brings with it a challenge to this way of thinking. The challenge to come out of the tomb of our selves, to emerge from the death of selfishness and privatized religion to embrace the kind of discipleship that is our baptismal right and duty—discipleship which can change the world! The mystery of resurrection is not something that can be domesticated. It is explosive by its very nature. Saint John tells us in his Gospel account of this day that the guards became like dead men in the face of it.
How do we appropriate that which is already ours? By dying. It is no accident that Good Friday comes before Easter Sunday. You and I are called to die to those things on which we reflected during Lent—those attitudes and actions that separate us from God and divide us one from the other, that prevent us or keep us afraid of changing the world. Our Baptism into the new life of Christ, which we renew this Easter Day, calls us to leave all of death in the tomb—to rise up and come out with Christ into the light of day and to bring that new life to the world.
Today is the first of 50 days in which we celebrate God’s life-giving love and the fount of inexhaustible mercy and forgiveness. The Easter Season is the Season of Initiation into the Body of Christ: the season of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. This is the season of renewal for all of us in our life in Christ. We begin this feast of initiation with the renewal of our own Baptismal Promises at the Easter Vigil and our Easter Sunday Masses—a sign of our willingness to work to bring about the reign of God in the world.
Throughout the season, we will celebrate as a Sunday Assembly the Baptisms of our newest members, as well as the First Communion of our second graders. We will celebrate the Confirmation of our adolescents and the Completion of Initiation for our RCIA participant. We will celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension in May and then, on Pentecost Sunday (50 days from Easter), we will bring this 50-day feast to fulfillment and completion as we gather as a parish family at a SINGLE celebration of the Eucharist on May 24, followed by our annual parish Pentecost gathering.
To those who visited with us over Holy Week and Easter weekend: we are happy that you chose to join us. If you live locally and have shared this time with us, we offer you an invitation to continue to join us each week. We invite you to join us—the community of Saint Robert’s—as we together do our best to celebrate and live out the mystery of God’s redeeming love in Christ and bring that love to the world.
I wish you a Happy and Holy Easter Season,