Easter Sunday: Bulletin art and column

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Easter Sunday: Painting by Ronald Raab, CSC

READ FULL bulletin here

Dear Believers in the Christ,

On this Easter morning, I am delighted and grateful for your presence at Sacred Heart Church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Holy Rosary Chapel. I extend to you a heartfelt Easter blessing as we break through death and into the new life of Christ Jesus.

We proclaim John 20:1-19 this morning. Jesus’ resurrection rings through to our souls. This gospel helps us enter into the scene of the unexpected. Mary Magdalene, Peter and John find the tomb of Jesus empty. Imagine them going to the tomb and not finding Jesus. They must have felt helpless and afraid.

The emptiness of the tomb requires much spiritual reflection. Mary Magdalene peered into emptiness. We can all imagine how fearful she was at that moment. Emptiness is where she realized that something new was happening. Emptiness still shocks us in our daily reality.

Ponder emptiness for a moment. A person who is ill or who has disabilities is often seen as not being whole. There is “emptiness” in our perspective that the person does not live up to being a complete or whole person. When a person is jobless, we may think of the person as not being fully present in our society. Even when we have unscheduled time, we may fear the emptiness and not know what to do, so we fill our lives with many things that do not matter.

Emptiness for Mary Magdalene is really the place where new insights and strengths were revealed. She found her life and voice emptied out by people’s perception of her. She was female, a person with no formal or cultural power. She had little credibility since she was healed of seven demons. She was always socially scarred. She testified to emptiness. Imagine what people must have thought of her testimony, yet in the end people believed her.

I think emptiness still baffles us. We tend to fill a void when we are faced with emptiness in our personal lives, in our prayer and in our spiritual journey. Emptiness is often a place of fear. Interestingly, emptiness is also a place of conversion, new life and freedom. When we surrender to emptiness within our hearts, within our spiritual desire for love, God will fill us up as He did on Easter day. Mary found a deep spiritual wonder and hope from God when the physical tomb presented her with emptiness.

Jesus’ Resurrection means that a new imagination is possible when emptiness happens in our lives. Easter reveals a new imagination in how we live. If Christianity is to survive in our culture, then we are to reimage how we pray and how we work for justice. Christianity cannot be complacent or lethargic. Following Jesus is more than a strict adherence to rules or to be obsessed about the past. A new imagination means we are to rely on the Holy Spirit in the nitty-gritty issues of our lives. We are to take to heart the love of God and live in creative and beautiful ways. Lent has emptied out our perspectives in order to view the beauty of new life at Easter.

I want to continue to create our communities in such imagination. I am grateful for our restored Sacred Heart Church. This is our first Easter back into our renovated building. I see the resurrection in the beauty of our renovation, how we serve one another and all the ways in which we break the mold in our churches. I pray that we can continue what we have started; trusting in the One who began this all.

Easter Blessings,

Fr. Ron

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