Easter Sunday 2019

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Acts 10:34, 37-43; Ps. 118; Col. 3:1-4; Jn. 20:1-9

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

“Christ is risen; he is truly risen! Alleluia!”

With these simple words voiced by the first Christians, I want to wish all of you a blessed Easter. May the light of our hope never die out and may our courage in faith never fail. In fact, Easter is an entreaty to hold fast and firm, to refuse to turn back, to never surrender. We are called to respond to everyone who asks us the reason for our hope, immersing ourselves in the paschal mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. In this great gift, we experience the passage of God (the meaning of the word “pasch”), who is at our side precisely when we reach our human limits. We might attempt to push ourselves beyond those limits but we will eventually confront one that is insurmountable and inescapable. And that is exactly where God can be found! He could not have given us life if he had not conquered the supreme limitation of human beings: death. Where we are forced to stop, God goes beyond.

In the Liturgy of the Paschal Vigil, when the light of the Easter candle shines in the darkness, these words resound throughout the Church:

This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave. Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave, you gave away your Son! The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy. It casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride. Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and human beings are reconciled with God (Easter Proclamation).

I can’t hide the fact that each time I read this passage from the Easter Proclamation a thrill runs down my spine and I feel a caress on the “skin” of my soul. I close my eyes and allow myself to be overwhelmed by the unsettling and sublime power of the merciful love of God, who not only forgives our sins but restores us to innocence. That’s right: God picks us up each time we fall, “rebuilds” us after we collapse, opens our hearts after we have closed them, gives light to eyes sealed by the “cataracts” that darken them, and infuses us with strength and vigor after all our toils and defeats.

This is why I love Easter: it continually reminds me that God never gets tired of me! How I yearn to preserve the gift of my restored innocence, the joy of being ransomed and freed at the price of his Son’s life! I remain speechless, striving to correspond to this great grace in the best way possible because I have come to understand that Easter, in the true meaning of the word, is letting oneself be embraced by the love of God–a love that transforms each of our days into the Gospel’s “first day of the week.”

A Blessed Easter to everyone!

Psalm 118:22-23

The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Fr. Giovanni Di Vitopastor of Sts. Erasmus and Martin Parish, Bojano (Campobasso), Italy


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