Dear Followers of Jesus Christ,
Alleluia! On this great Easter Day, we celebrate the gift of new life in Christ Jesus. His suffering and death have been transformed into Eternal Life. He is our victory over the grave. We belong to him in this new life through the gift of our baptism. We find our home in the waters of life, in the markings on our bodies, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The authority of our faith, our tradition, our Church, comes alive in each of us on this Easter Day.
Easter resides in our resilience in life. Each of us has faced deep wounds this year and has faced many obstacles. Our faith is not flimsy or whimsical. It is deeply rooted in our pain, our suffering, our unsteady decisions, our weary grief. We can stand up on Easter Day and know the love of God because we have faced our own tragedies and doubts.
On this Easter Day, we proclaim my favorite text, John 20:1-9. We hear Mary of Magdala go to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning. She desired to absorb the reality of his death. He had released her of seven demons. She followed the Master, and she realized his healing power. She knew who he was firsthand. When she arrived at the tomb, she feared something was wrong. The incredibly large stone covering the tomb was rolled away.
Her instincts carried her back by foot to tell Peter about her findings. Peter and John ran in worry. Even though John arrived at the tomb first, Peter was the first to enter the tomb. Image what they felt. Imagine the sweat on their bodies from running and from fear. They peered down and saw the cloth that had covered his head rolled up in the corner. Something new was taking place, but they could not comprehend such a miracle, such beauty, and such love.
There are many reasons to love this text of new life. I love it because a woman was the first to find the empty tomb. She experienced the Resurrection of Jesus Christ even though she did not understand that he had to rise from the dead. She also was the first to express such a reality. She heralded new life to Peter and John. Her enthusiastic voice proclaimed new life in excitement and fear. Her testimony is handed down to us today.
In our Sacred Heart Parish community, we celebrate our 100th Anniversary. We celebrate the building of Sacred Heart as well as the combination of our three communities into one parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Manitou Springs and Holy Rosary Chapel in Cascade. For all these years, we have proclaimed many Easter Days and heralded Jesus Christ in our sacramental lives. We have baptized thousands of infants and buried the dead of our ancestors in our parish community. We stand as well in the tradition of the Church to proclaim eternal life and the beauty and richness of Jesus Christ over sin, death, and evil.
I am so grateful for your presence today. I am richly changed by your desire to believe in Jesus Christ. In many ways, we are pilgrims of faith longing to peer into the dark grave of Jesus to find for ourselves that life is worth it, that faith means something in our generation, that love is possible no matter what. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in our parish community that has heralded such a message for 100 years. I also believe that our communities will continue for many years to come.
I hope you will join us this summer for our anniversary events. The actual date of the anniversary of Sacred Heart Church is July 16, 2022. Bishop William Wack, CSC from Pensacola, Florida will preside on that Saturday at 5:30 pm. Bishop Bill was the associate pastor here when he was first ordained a priest in 1994. On July 17, Bishop James Golka will preside at two Masses on Sunday and dedicate our new Saint André House.
Please know my gratitude to all of you on this Easter Day. I am delighted to celebrate the Eucharist today in memory of all parishioners, past, present, and future. Thank you for your faith, your generosity, your kindness, and your lives here on this Easter Day.
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor