It has been been a long and strange year. Last year as we celebrated the vigil for the sake of safety there was only a few of us in this space at Saint Rose. Tom and Doreen were here recording. There were only 2 to 3 music ministry and enough readers to proclaim the Word of God were also present. Although we are still not back to where we want to be, we are getting much closer than we have been. For the most part we have been able to celebrate the Triduum as a family in faith.
Along those lines… can you imagine how you are going to feel when the headlines, TV news, and updates from the states announce: Covid-19 no longer a threat, all restrictions lifted across the globe. How will you feel at that moment… relieved, happy, excited, joyful? Personally, I am going to do the snoopy dance… maybe even in public. Who are the first people you want to see… children, grandchildren, parents, friends? And when you see them, how will you greet them… hug, dance, cry, laugh? What will you do first… travel, go on a shopping spree without a mask, go to a concert or a sporting event, take a trip with a long plane ride? Me, I want to invite all my family, friends, and fellow musicians to a huge picnic and jam session lasting way into the night, and the next day, go play out in the woods. Have you captured the feeling of that and subsequent moments? I want you to make note how you feel as the burden of this experience is lifted from you, those you love, and our world. This, my brothers and sisters, is akin to the Easter joy we celebrate this weekend! The gift of having a burden… the burden… lifted that we could not lift by ourselves.
Tonight our readings recall not only the kind of world God longed to provide for us, but the lengths that God went, and continues to go, to bring us back to his protection and love. Tonight our readings recall the people, places, and things that he used to lift the weight of sin and division from our backs. In all that time, whether we accepted or rejected God, He never gave up on us or stopped fighting for us — even to the point of sending his son, our brother Jesus to “lift from us the prison bars of death”. That death, being more than the end of lives on earth, but a separation from the God who loves us and who is the source of life — not just for a day or two, but for eternity. This is a true reason for celebration and joy. It is like having the joy that you feel about having the virus lifted from you by multiplying it by the number of breaths you will take in a lifetime. That does not mean that the road ahead of us will always be easy or joy filled because we still live in a broken world. What it does mean is knowing how this story ends that we can experience the joy and peace of his presence here as well as in the world to come. Through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, no matter where we go or what we do, there is no escape from love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Jesus has risen! Happy Easter!