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Father Muench Says...

United in baptism, united in Christ

April 29, 2020

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

We are in the Easter Season. Like other of our Catholic Liturgical seasons, the Easter Season this year has been radically changed by the pandemic. Lent, Holy Week and Easter Sunday were so very different this year. Everything was what they call “virtual.” We certainly know what virtual means this year. The one thing we learned rather quickly is that everything depends on us. It is up to us what we watch, how we pray, what we learn. So, the Easter Season is virtual also.

The Easter Season is the celebration of the time that our Lord, Jesus, our Resurrected Savior, continued to spend among us on this earth after his Resurrection until His Ascension. Scripture tells us that Jesus ascended 40 days after his Resurrection. This we celebrate as the Easter Season.

As a Church, we remember and celebrate the many events of this Easter Season. We meditate on the various stories of Jesus appearing and being with his apostles and disciples. Most of all, we often learn of Jesus instructing his apostles to baptize and help people to dedicate their lives to following the Lord. Our opportunities in the past to pray together and join at the altar of the Lord for Mass are not possible this year. The opportunities for us to unite ourselves with the Lord through the Holy Eucharist are not possible this year. We are a pandemic people this year. Our Easter Season celebration is virtual. Yet, this can still be a time to unite us together and to unite us with the Lord. We pray for a return to a better way of joining as a Church – celebrating as an Easter people. We listen and hope our leaders will help us to figure this all out, so that we can become, again, a gathered people of God.

The Easter Season this year can be a time for us to find a way to unite ourselves together as this people of God. The Resurrection of Jesus is our way of coming together. Though we are urged to distance ourselves from each other to protect ourselves and others, uniting ourselves with the resurrected Jesus will be our way of uniting ourselves with each other. Jesus will unite us and bring us new life through the Holy Spirit, a new life that will bring peace and happiness despite this pandemic; a resurrected life, being together as one people.

That is why this is all about baptism. As we renew our baptisms during this Easter Season, we will truly be born again into a new life dedicated to following our Lord and Savior. Through our baptisms, we have experienced our own resurrection, and we are joined in Spirit with the Lord in his Resurrection.

I believe that Jesus rose from the dead. I believe that three days after Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus rose to new life. I believe that the Resurrection of Jesus prefigures our own resurrection. Our resurrection began when we were brought to new life with the Lord in our baptisms. In baptism, each of us was dedicated in faith and confidence to live a new life as followers of Jesus, as Christians. We are indeed an Easter people, a Resurrection people. So, let us live like a baptized people. Let us live like a people who have rose with Jesus. Let us live a new life.

I want to remind you of Romans 6:3: “Are you unaware that we who were baptize into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”

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