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Father Muench Says...

Living life reflecting the resurrection

April 24, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I love Easter. I love the Easter Vigil – the Mass, the rituals that the Church celebrates on Holy Saturday during the night. We are all united throughout the world in a celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. So many wonderful things happen at the Easter Vigil each year. There is a certain excitement in welcoming someone into the Catholic Church. I have had the privilege of baptizing many adults at the Easter Vigil. That is very special. We have such a special program in our parishes of preparing adults for baptism – spending a year or more walking with them and leading them to discover the glory and joy of the Catholic faith.

I want to add to this that as a priest I poured the water in baptism in this magnificent ceremony during the Easter Vigil, bringing someone to a unique unity with the Lord in love and with peace, with happiness, with welcome. This is always a more exciting moment for any priest.

And, we, priests, are the ones who anoint the newly baptized Christians with confirmation at the Easter Vigil. Usually, this sacrament is reserved for the Bishop. Again, a very special moment in priestly ministry.

There are many wonderful resurrection stories of Jesus in the Gospels. The story read on Easter Sunday you certainly remember – the one about Mary Magdalene discovering that the stone on Jesus’ tomb was rolled back. She was so disturbed that she rushed to tell Peter. The same Peter who denied knowing Jesus on the day of Jesus’ Confirmation. Peter and another apostle run to the tomb and discover that the tomb was empty. Now, on Easter Sunday, you and I, attend Mass. We run next to Peter and that other apostle to again find the tomb of Jesus empty.

It is indeed an interesting image. We come to the empty tomb to find the resurrected Jesus. The empty tomb means the Lord is alive, Jesus lives, Jesus is resurrected. So, truly, we come to church because that is where we will find Jesus – the tomb is empty. The risen Lord is here, is with us to lead, to guide, to show us the way, and to give us life, peace and happiness. We come to Jesus to understand and recognize our own resurrection which has already begun here and now – our new life.

So, how do we live this new resurrected life now? This is a way of life, a way of living each day now with happiness and peace. This is a life that is lived with gratitude and peace.

A life touched by the resurrection of Jesus is a life filled with gratitude. It is a way of life that recognizes the magnificent gifts that each of us has received from the Lord. And we live with gratitude so that we can use well these gifts that are ours, these magnificent gifts from our God – our talents given to make life successful.

Also, a resurrected life should be a life filled with peace, a way of life lived in the peace of our God. We bring Jesus to each person we meet when we approach them with love and peace, whether they are a friend or a stranger, whether they are friend or enemy. The love and peace of our Savior calls us to remove from our lives anything of violence. Easter is a perfect time to transform our world into a place of peace and joy. Each time we do something, no matter how simple, no matter how complex, each time we remove from our lives and our hearts anything of violence, we have transformed this world; we have made it a better world – a world fill with the resurrected life of our Lord and Savior.

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