An Easter message from Archbishop Kurtz

The “Risen Christ” is depicted in a 15th-century painting by Sandro Botticelli. Easter is April 16 this year. (CNS/Bridgeman Images)

The “Risen Christ” is depicted in a 15th-century painting by Sandro Botticelli. Easter is April 16 this year. (CNS/Bridgeman Images)

How good it would be to see the Risen Lord Jesus as His dear mother Mary saw him. Of all the disciples of Jesus who rejoiced at the news of the Risen Lord, no one could possibly be more joyous than His own mother.

The Church recognizes this reality in the ancient Marian hymn for the Easter Season, the “Regina Coeli.”  It begins: 

“Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia. For He whom you did merit to bear has risen as He said. Alleluia.”

St. Leo the Great, pope during the 6th century, gave a beautiful homily in which he said that Jesus hastened to rise as soon as possible, because He was in a hurry to console His Mother and the disciples. He rose as soon as he could on the third day, just before sunrise when everything was still dark, in advance of the dawn with his own light.

With the eyes of our Blessed Mother Mary, we rejoice on Easter Day.  Jesus, who died for our sins on the first Good Friday, rose just as He had said He would.  His rising is our truth and great hope for we who believe will rise with Him; rise from sin and from death. It is the reason we proclaim: Alleluia.  We rejoice!

The ability to rejoice and to have a festive spirit can be somewhat removed from modern living.  We live such fast-paced lives that we rarely take time to pause and rejoice. We want everything faster and bigger. Pope Francis rightly calls us the “throw away” generation, always looking for more and rarely appreciating the joy that comes our way.

This Easter you and I are called to rejoice. Jesus, who once was dead, has now risen. The days of Holy Week — that time of slowing down and pausing to empty our busy hearts and concentrate on the final days of the life of Jesus — are days for calling to mind our ultimate destiny, what is truly important:  to be a son or daughter of God, destined to live forever. Death is no longer our destiny. In Christ Risen, we rise.

Easter is a time of conversion a time to live more fully the life of Christ we received in baptism. That’s why we renew our baptismal promises on Easter to renounce sin and live as true children of the Father.

At the Easter Vigil, there is a moving ritual in which the Paschal Candle, symbol of the Risen Christ, is incensed in a darkened church, lit only by the baptismal tapers we hold in our hands. Then the “Exultet” is sung. “May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.” 

With the eyes of our Blessed Mother, we want to experience the Risen Christ this Easter, lifting the darkness from our hearts and minds so that we can rejoice:  Christ is risen; He is truly risen. Alleluia!

In this spirit, I extend to you and your loved ones the wish of a Blessed Easter!

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