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Father Muench Says...

A celebration of confidence in the future

April 19, 2017

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Easter – a celebration of new life, a celebration of hope and confidence in the future, a time to celebrate our salvation,  our time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.

During Holy Week, we spend time in prayer and mortification as we remember and celebrate the sufferings of Jesus, his death that led to his Resurrection. It’s a week of special ceremonies that reminds us of our own share in the Resurrection of the Lord.

This Resurrection of Jesus transforms us.  Our celebration of Easter each year is another time to allow Jesus to bring new life to us through his Church.  This celebration of Easter is best prepared for by our celebration of the feast days of Holy Week.

On Holy Thursday, as we celebrate the Lord’s Last Supper, we again experience the institution of one of Jesus’ greatest gifts, the magnificent gift of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of new life.  At each celebration of the Holy Eucharist, each Holy Mass, we are beginning our celebration of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus entered into new life in his resurrection so that each one of us will find new life each time, we celebrate Mass and receive Holy Communion.

In addition, on Holy Thursday, we commemorate Jesus’ ordination of his first priests, the apostles.  “Do this in memory of me.”

For all time, Jesus, through his Bishops ordains priests to bring new life to all people through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  Each time a priest celebrates Mass people are lead to new life, a share in the Resurrection of Jesus.

The events that we remember on Good Friday each year continue to lead us all to our celebration of Easter. 

Easter Masses will continue to remind us that Jesus suffered and died for us leading to the Lord’s Resurrection. 
Good Friday gives us a more intense understanding of how horrific were his sufferings; this helps us to realize the magnificence of the Resurrection, even now, each time Mass is offered. 

The liturgy brings us from Good Friday to Easter.

The Resurrection of Jesus brings us all new hope and confidence.  This hope is empowered by all that we celebrate during these days of Holy Week.  We find new strength of faith through all that Jesus did for us – his sufferings, his death – all that leads us to hope and confidence through his Resurrection.  We are ready for whatever will come. We have hope and faith in our future through the Resurrection of Jesus.  We are ready for whatever will come.

On Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil, as we solemnly celebrate Christ’s Resurrection with such powerful ceremonies, we build important and unforgettable memories.  For this reason, the Easter Vigil is the perfect time for the Baptism of the Catechumens and the reception of new Catholics into full communion with the Catholic Church.  It is a ceremony to remember.

As a priest, I have so many memories of Easter Vigils at which I was celebrant.  So it truly has become the perfect way to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.

Easter is about Baptism.  At the Easter Vigil and the Masses of Easter Sunday, all present are asked to renew their Baptismal promises.  We are asked to acknowledge our faith in God and our readiness to follow Jesus, to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

In Baptism, we were born again to a new life with the Lord.  We are members of the Body of Christ – sons and daughters of our God – friends of Jesus.  We are more completely united to the Lord through the new life through his Resurrection. 

God’s love is stronger than death.  The Resurrection of Jesus must never be separated from our own Resurrection, our destiny of new life with the Lord as saved by him.  Jesus has become a brother and Savior of us all.

This morning I was at the pharmacy picking up a prescription.  As I was checking out – Bob said to me, “I love Easter.  There is something special about this celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection.”

I agreed.  Happy Easter, Bob.

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