Happy Easter! In the words of the hymn, “The strife is o’er, the battle done; Now is the Victor’s triumph won.” Having spent six weeks of Lent preparing for this feast, we now celebrate the Easter Octave, reveling in the gospel accounts of the discovery of the empty tomb and then the appearances of the Risen Lord to his disciples. Little by little, in the gospels of this week’s Masses, the Good News is proclaimed—not all at once, lest we be overwhelmed by it. The mystery is revealed in stages, so we can take it in. The Easter Season, in turn, is celebrated as one great feast of 50 days, concluding on Pentecost Sunday.
Today we celebrate the central mystery of our faith: the resurrection of the Lord from the dead. Today we are asked to believe and proclaim the unbelievable: that he who was dead has arisen and is alive. The gospel offers us no conclusive proof, only an empty tomb and burial cloths. Our model is the Apostle John: “He saw and believed.” (Gospel) We are asked to profess our faith by renewing our baptismal promises. It is all about faith: trust in God, in the scriptural accounts of the witnesses, in the Church and her two millennia of Tradition. By our faith and witness, we continue that living Tradition.
A few verses from today’s Sequence, the Victimæ Paschali, poetically express the meaning of Christ’s resurrection for us:
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous;
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.…
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
During the Easter season—that is, from now through Pentecost—the Regina Cæli replaces the Angelus. Here is the text.
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia:
For he whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
Let us pray. O God, who by the resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant, we beg you, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Next Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. The Divine Mercy Devotions will be held at Saint Paul Church in Bloomer and at Notre Dame in Chippewa Falls, both beginning at 1:00 PM. Father Chris Alar will give a talk by video entitled, “Explaining the Faith—Suffering: Why Does God Allow It?” The Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed at 3:00. There will be opportunities for confession throughout the afternoon. You are welcome to participate in any or all of the program.
Next Sunday a second collection is traditionally taken up throughout our diocese for the support of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. There is an envelope in your envelope packet for this collection. Please take this opportunity to support them and the many ways in which they contribute to the work of the Church in our diocese.
Pray the rosary this week for good weather for a productive planting and growing season. Pray for the needs of the Church in our diocese and for those throughout our diocese who have received the sacraments of initiation this Easter. As always, pray for peace.
May God bless you this Easter and always.