Alleluia!! Sing out with joy for the Easter miracle. The Lord is risen! We have been redeemed. Death no longer has ultimate power over us. We anticipate the day when we too will be raised with Christ. As baptized Christians, we have already been raised up. While we, through faith, already know and believe that, somehow with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) attacking our world we certainly do not feel or experience Easter as we might have in the past. Maybe we celebrated that glorious event on the Easter Vigil (my favorite Mass) beginning outside with the blessing of the new fire and the Easter Candle, coming into a dark church and feeling the light of Christ spread among us. Hearing the story of salvation history proclaimed in the readings, blessing the new baptismal water, welcoming new members into the church and renewing our own baptismal promises, and of course, celebrating with inspiring music and song in the Eucharist liturgy. Perhaps we simply got up early to see the sun rise or put on our Sunday best or a new Easter bonnet, gathering with the whole family for Mass and then going out for breakfast or continuing the feast at home with a wonderful ham dinner and food that was blessed on Saturday morning. That probably will not be the same experience this year, especially with social distancing.
But neither was the first Easter morning. The early church, Mary and all the disciples were in great sorrow over the death of their Lord and friend, Jesus. I suspect this emotion continued as they began to understand that Jesus had come back from the dead and was confirmed with the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
There is a lot of running in today’s Gospel. Mary Magdalene sees the stone rolled away and runs to announce to Simon Peter, and the beloved disciples what had happened. They both start running to the tomb. I’m not a marathon runner, but I hear at one point in the race, the runner experiences a wall. They feel they can’t go on. It almost stops them in their tracks. Once they are over that feeling, they can continue and finish the race.
The horrendous pandemic we are experiencing can do the same. It fills us with feelings of despair. I don’t want to go on. I can’t finish. Here's where the gift of faith comes in. With the power of the risen Christ we again can have hope. We trust in the Lord to bring about the defeat of this virus. We have been raised out of the ashes of despair. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. “On behalf of our parish staff, Donna, Linda, Fred, Carl, Mary Jo, Jim, Fr. George, and myself, we wish all of you a blessed and joy-filled Easter season.
Love, Peace, Joy