4-17-2022 Reflection

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Musicologists tell us that some great classical pipe organs have as many as a thousand pipes in their makeup.  But today, even that amazing number falls short of what the Church wants to proclaim musically, the joy that is the message of Easter.

Liturgical committees have likely festooned their parish sanctuaries with a near surplus of Easter lilies. The blooms themselves resemble trumpets, and so they are meant to “blare out” the Gospel of the Resurrection of Christ.  But even their beauty and fanciful music is not enough to herald the Easter message of the holy Gospel today.

Today is truly “the Day of days.”  The “Alleluias” are sprinkled liberally throughout today’s celebration for all good reason. The word means in English “Praise God.” It conveys exactly what the Holy Spirit wants us to have in our hearts in the wake of the discoveries of Mary Magdalene, Peter and the “beloved disciple” on that unforgettable morning.

To be honest, on Easter our emotions likely differ in kind and intensity from what they are on a Christmas morning.  The Infant in the manger is adorably cute as he wriggles in the straw. Greeting card artists help us picture that, along with Mary and Joseph nearby guarding Him.  After all, nobody but a few anonymous Roman soldiers actually saw the resurrection. It is fair to assume that they may have been either too drowsy or too shocked at the time. Again, our artists have helped here, but to a lesser degree.  Apparently the announcing angels did not form a choir to sing as they did for the shepherds some thirty three years before.

Still, Easter trumps Christmas in its importance and its lasting impact on world history and our own. For us, it’s a faith-based call to pay more attention to the things of heaven and less to the things of earth as St. Paul advises.

Easter also urges us to energize that love of God and neighbor that Jesus preached. We cannot forget that awesome display of mercy and love when amid those awful hours while He hung on the cross, He cried out: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The news outlets will likely offer a few passing lines on their 24 programming to acknowledge this day, maybe offering a snippet of the pope’s Mass or universal blessing. It will forget all about it on Monday and more or less expect us to do the same. That’s the way it is in a culture based on profit and productivity for which God and the things of God are alien and awkward.

But we know better, mostly because Easter is the guarantee that our trust in God is well-placed. It sources our hope and optimism.  The Easter message comes across to our eyes and our ears as we see the lilies and hear the singing and the organ music today. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

“With Christ’s resurrection, the Father breaks the silence and expresses His judgment on Christ’s action and, of course, on those who crucified Him.  It is a source of hope and joy for us because the Scriptures assure us that what God did for Jesus, He will do for us.”  – Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, 1991
God love you and give you and yours His Easter peace.

Reading I:  Acts 10: 34a, 37-43: Peter’s sermon covers the full original kerygma of the early Church’s message to the world.  A recap of Jesus’ life and works precedes the great news of what happened “on the third day.”

Reading II:  Colossians 3: 1-4:Paul urges his readers in the community to “think of what is above” rather than to be captivated by the old ways. The reason: you were raised with Christ.

The Gospel:  John 20: 1-9, or Luke 24: 13-35John offers a brief account of Mary Magdalene’s discovery of the empty tomb.  Later, Peter and the “beloved disciple” visit the site.  For us today and always, we observe faith in action, for “they say and believed.”