My dear people of St. Mary’s:
Today we celebrate the greatest feast in the Catholic Church’s annual liturgical calendar: the Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Sunday. It is a day for us to remember that our entire Catholic Faith is based on the fact of the empty tomb, and the truth of the Resurrection. We live in a time that is very much impressed by advances in science and technology. This can lead some people to embrace a skepticism about things which are beyond the realm of science. And so, modern man sometimes begins to view the events of the Gospels as merely lovely stories; tales which may teach important lessons, but which are hardly to be taken as true.
But this was not the attitude of our ancestors in the Faith. The Apostles and many other martyrs of that first age of the Church gave their lives because they would not deny the fact of the Resurrection. Just such questions once arose in the early Christian community of Corinth. This prompted St. Paul to write to them to encourage them in their belief and to correct their doubts. He wrote:
Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. (1 Cor. 15:12-14)
What the Corinthians had forgotten is that the Catholic Faith is a finely constructed edifice. If we begin to pull out a brick of belief here and cast away a doctrine there, before long the entire structure will collapse in ruins. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it: “The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ, by his Resurrection, has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised.” (CCC 651)
And so today we celebrate the fact that Our Lord suffered, died, was buried, and then rose again on the third day, as He promised. And, although we must die one day as well, He has made us a promise of a resurrection like His own. Each Easter Sunday we recall the truth of Christ’s Resurrection, and look forward to the day when we, and those we love, will experience it ourselves.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said: “Remember that the Passion of Christ ends always in the joy of the Resurrection of Christ, so when you feel in your own heart the suffering of Christ, remember the Resurrection has to come — the joy of Easter has to dawn. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Risen Christ.”
I pray that you and your families will have a blessed Easter.