The Lord God has revealed to us during these pandemic days what he expects of us regarding the Sunday Eucharist by taking it away from us for a while. He, at his own good pleasure, will restore us to our tradition of keeping the Lord’s Day centered in our participation in gathering with the Catholic assembly to praise him in a thanksgiving way and to draw more deeply of the eternal gifts he bestows on us there. He wants more from us. That is really a blessing. So by examining more closely what we are missing at the moment he knows we shall return to Sunday worship with minds and hearts renewed and a more fervent participation in his blessings. The Lord is sanctifying his people.
Previously we had looked at the Mass by comparing it to the virtual presentations we have been using of the Eucharist. By revisiting spiritual communion prayers we have seen there is more to such a prayer now than what we learned growing up. The Eucharist includes everything from beginning to end, not just the going to Communion part.
The question remains what deep down make the Mass so important. The answer lies in the encounter or the personal exchange that takes place in the dialogue at Mass between God and us. This is what we wish to touch upon today.
To refresh our memories here is brief list of the Order of Mass: the gathering, the dialogue that begins The Lord be with you…, the plea for merciful love, the Church’s prayer (Collect) of thanksgiving and petition, the active listening to the word of God with proper response, the homiletic application of the word of God his presence in life here and now, the profession of our faith by saying who we are, putting thanksgiving into action by joining Christ in sacrifice, showing that we are united in Christ by saying the Lord’s Prayer together and changing a sign of peace, the consumption of the Body of Christ as food for our spiritual growth in response to his saving word and consumption of the Blood of the Covenant, Jesus himself, indicating our allegiance to God’s love in uniting us to himself in his family bond, finally he being sent forth to live the Christ we have just celebrated. So to tie all these things together for us think of making a spiritual communion for all these things — the total word and sacrament.
So what is happening when we faithfully, consciously, actively participate in this whole ritual?
The Mass is a personal encounter and exchange between the Person of God and the persons of mankind. We meet God. We listen to him. We converse with him. We let his feed us with his word and with his Son’s life. We go home from Mass and can say: This day God and I spent time together and I came away with more than I gave. Everyone who put their heart and soul in participation in the Eucharist received more of the same that God had given in the past — I am more alive with Christ’s eternal life of his kingdom. Mass is real communion of persons — one of which is divine. That is what life is really all about.
Eucharist is about unity — Christians united together in the body of Christ, the Church. This is one of great things we have sensed was mission during the past few weeks. God’s plan is to being his people together in the joyful bond of being one. By ourselves we are incomplete. God has planted in us the constant desire to be with others. This takes place in the action of the Mass. The source of the unity is the Holy Spirit. The real presence of the Holy Spirit during the Eucharist parallels the real presence of Christ throughout the Mass. We are trying to understand and be conscious of the several real presences of God when we are gathered around the table of the Lord. We can see now that we cannot have unite among us at the Eucharist without the Holy Spirit bringing that about. Saint Augustine many years ago eloquently taught the newly baptized that it is their unity as the body of Christ which is placed on the altar in sacrifice and which is consumed. We eat the presence of Christ so that his presence increase within us. That unity continues even after we are sent forth from Mass.
There is much more to talk about. We shall continue this the next time.
I hear church bells ringing from a distance. Coming closer.
From all we have said before we are amazed at the gift God is offering us (gift to be gift has to be accepted) this Easter. We have been cut off from others even to the point of not being able to gather for Mass. We all sense this very deeply and ponder why God is letting this happen. We know he has a good reason and it is for our own good.
So let’s take up where we left off last time and recognize God’s hand in the fact that we feel a deep longing to participate in the action of the Mass together with the faith community. Virtual worship, even though it is helpful and has its benefits, is not the same as what we have come to love in our Catholic tradition. We have that sense of loss and we are now going to explore the greatness and deep joy that comes from encountering Christ and his people at Mass.
My own experience may be of some advantage. As I celebrate Mass each day alone, even though it is in church, is a bit awkward when I say The Lord be with you and nobody is there and there is no response. The pews do not talk. I cannot hear the voices of angels either. So I think of you and the faith and love of God that you have in your hearts. But I miss the interaction (which the Lord wants to be there and has taught us to cherish). This brings home to us that in virtual worship it does not do me much good to say And with your spirit to the TV or computer screen. Nobody on the other end hears me and can sense the faith and love that is in my heart.
So the Eucharist is live interaction between us and the Lord Jesus and live, warm, amazing, joyful interaction and encounter with brothers and sisters in the faith in real time. This encounter has two results: 1) our personal meeting with God; 2) his bestowing more of his life upon us – this is how we grow through his and our activity jointly. His promise of salvation is taking place.
There is more to this as we move ahead but I want to digress a moment, touching on what is called spiritual communion. A spiritual communion is a prayer used by those who are unable to receive the Body and Blood of Christ sacramentally, they profess faith in the real presence of Christ within us and in the sacred species, they show the desire to communicate with Christ sacramentally, they offer a petition that God bless us in his own way with the same graces open to us in participation at Mass. It is a good prayer and was promoted at time when Sacramental Communion was practice infrequently and there was a widespread notion that going to Communion was the whole of the Mass. Since the early 1900’s the Church and the Popes and Second Vatican Council, through a better understanding of the power of liturgy have opened the entire Mass to us and include the receiving of Communion at every Mass, even for children who realize the sacredness of what they are doing.
A spiritual communion prayer is a worthwhile prayer but not a full substitute of the action of the whole Eucharistic worship which is more than just going to Communion. Christ did not command us at the Last Supper to do a spiritual communion. Rather he commanded us to do (i.e. action) the Mass as a whole in which we actually eat (taking him into our bodies and hearts that way) and actually drink (pledging faithfulness to the Covenant with our whole life, body and soul). With a more profound grasp of the totality of Eucharistic action we yearn to interact with Christ in several ways:
a) in listening to word and giving response,
b) joining his presence in the worshiping community,
c) following his lead as sacrificial priest in sacrificing our will to that of the Father,
d) and taking in bodily the spiritual food and drink which is Christ himself.
A true spiritual communion reveals to God the desire we have to participate with our lives in fulfilling Jesus’ command entirely from beginning to end and so do this in memory of him. Spiritual communion encompasses more now for us than it did a few centuries ago. Under the present situation we deeply miss all of this. We need to be “in person” for the entire sacred action.
One way we know that spiritual communion does not reach the high level of active participation in the Body and Blood of Christ is that when those not of the Catholic community attend weddings and funerals they notice the incompleteness of being excluded from going to Communion.
So next time I shall return to what really is going on at Mass for which we long.
I hear church bells ringing from a distance.
As we get closer to the Church Bells calling us together we must make up our minds the changes in life to which God is calling us. This is not just a religious problem but with the deepening of our faith life and the wisdom and values it brings all of society, whether believers or non-believers, will benefit from the graces of the blessings these days offer us. Each year the gifts of Easter teach us that we are to share what we receive in Jesus’ name. The pandemic heightens the need and power of what comes from above. That is why the bells are ringing. Everybody can hear them; everybody is being called to respond positively.
It is evident that Easter opens up the treasures from heaven — they are multiple and diverse, such as what is life all about, which way must we go, is their hope, will life come to an end, where does Jesus fit into the picture today. So how is God handling this? Does he let us know what he wants? Do we find it in the scriptures? Is his answer out there for all to see? All this fits together. So let us start by asking ourselves what changes in our way of living touch us the most. Probably what hits home are the restrictions placed on our freedom. We cannot go wherever we wish. Our shopping habits have changed. The people we see every day are very limited. We have become more aware of the many unselfish people who serve us. Our leaders come under fire for the decisions they make. Supplies, especially medical supplies and services, are at a premium. Worries arise about our future — jobs and finances. Life is fragile. And I cannot pray the way I am used to.
So in all of these what is the biggest change? For most of us it is the reality that we do not have access to Mass, especially Sunday Mass. It pleases me to hear so many of you confess that you in all of the adjustments we have had to make going to church is what we look forward to the most. I usually bring up the fact that the Church is doing what it can under the circumstances by providing a virtual prayer time by Internet or TV. Masses are live streamed or broadcast on cable or spiritual content on our website and others. But I find hope in your response that it is not the same. There is something that cannot be reproduced digitally. An in person, with the faith community Mass is what we seek. God has taught us this, not just from books, but by actually participating in the Eucharist over the years. We do not know exactly what it is but there is something about a live, in person encounter with Christ and his Church which we long for. I want you to realize that God this year is revealing to us what the real Easter gift is in the risen Christ. It is within us. What is it? He is giving us the additional opportunity here and now to give him praise and thanksgiving for his love.
I hear church bells ringing from a distance.
(Click here to check if you hear the bells, too)
This is connected in some way to the social distancing that has been our way of life for over a month. So as we see the restrictions of the pandemic subsiding we are looking forward to the day when we can practice our faith openly and freely without fear. It is possible to recognize God’s providence in having this happen at Easter Time when Christ comes to us and removes all fear.
Idea for naming this series of articles came to me when I was standing in an empty church building and the bells in the tower starred to peal. The bells are still ringing at their regular times and at the beginning of Sunday Mass. As you drive by the church during these days and are greeted with the sound of bells take that way in which God is promising us that the call of the bells willo be hard again and that he expects a response to his call to gather together.
So let’s take a few moments to reflect on the role of bells in our faith life.
Bells are not limited to church use. Our nation has a Liberty Bell calling our people together and uniting them with a single purpose which is included in its name, i.e. freedom. So to name our bells Church Bells indicates their purpose in calling us to be Church, assembled in Christ’s name for the worship of the one God and the holiness of men and women, old and young, whose hearts are set on the Father of Jesus. So by knowing the location of the ringing bells we know that they are a call from God himself to make us Church. So the ringing of our church bells puts us into action to journey to the gathering place but also to prepare our hearts to live up to our calling.
We would not need church bells if it were God’s plan that we worship him solely by ourselves individually. In there were no church community we would not need bells. Awe would worship whenever we felt like it. This was a danger during the height of the pandemic when we turned to virtual prayer, even to picking and choosing what prayer we wanted and at what time we wanted. Gathering at the sound of the bell makes us join others in worship and the extension of that is, when assembled, we have to follow the order of service of the group.
Lastly today, the church bells are a sign and promoter of joy. Even the tolling at funerals reveals the joy of God’s promise of eternal life and the joy of coming together to show our love of God and neighbor. Church bells are a sign of the body of Christ and our communion with him. What a joy it is to share in that gift of God.
So in the future days I will offer some more specific resolutions to come back to church with faith and love renewed.
Listen for the bells. The sound is coming closer.
Life in the early Church, Psalm 118 Alleluia, the goal of our Easter faith, receive the Holy Spirit
Click Here for Readings at Mass
These few days of Easter already have made us more aware that the Resurrection of Christ Jesus is not just about him but the resurrection of the Church continues to take place through the power and glory of the Son of God. So we should not be surprised to listen to these sacred readings as shedding Christ’s light upon who we are and what is going on in our lives in Christ. Luke again this year sets up four criteria to examine in the present life of the Church which will tell us whether we are living the new life of the risen Lord.
1) Listening to the word of God as he speaks to us through the teaching of the Apostles;
2) Living day by day in fraternal charity, gathering with the community, sharing God’s gifts;
3) Celebrating joyfully in liturgical fashion the mysteries of Christ, our priest;
4) Joining with other believers of all ages, expressing our common faith and love in prayer.
We know that we are not perfect in every aspect of these four criteria, but our unrelenting efforts to seek perfection in this regard will be the sign to the world that the living Christ is in our midst raising us up.
Perhaps stating a resolution for each of the four might help give us the new life of Christ more this year.
a) Spend some time reflecting on the fact that God is actually speaking to us through the authorities in the Church, coming to realize that their words and actions are not mere human activity but should carry more weight than the thousands and millions of words uttered on TV or sent by texting each day.
b) Definitely and successively is God calling us to make up for the social distancing the pandemic has forced upon us. The treasure of family, friendship and Church ties the Lord has given us must not decrease but increase for the betterment of mankind and a deeper sharing in the sharing of God gifts, material and spiritual, which are the heritage God is preparing for us.
c) Thank heaven the temporary absence of liturgical life of the Church is making itself felt in our lives and has heightened our appreciation of such a gift. As we come out of this time of suspended worship gatherings we resolve to put more effort into starting up again our valued liturgical prayer. We see that in this case virtual is not the same as real. We need to reassess the many forms of Christ’s real presence in our lives.
d) A life without time of prayer is half a life at best. Man cannot live the depths of life without God every day. If the habit of prayer has waned, we must resolve to readjust our daily schedules to include study and conversation with our Creator and Redeemer. After all, we have come from God and we are meant to return to him for all eternity. We will miss much if we are not familiar with him. He might even have to say: I don’t know you. What a pity!
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1)
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.
The Acts of Apostles (above) describe the daily routine of the early Christians in Jerusalem. They went to the Temple every day — they felt at home there. There was not a sharp distinction between Jews and Christians. It is only later that the Jewish authorities wanted to show a difference. So the first Christians worshipped in the Temple and sang the same psalms which they had been doing for years. They did not have to get a new songbook. That continues to this day. We the same psalms that were used in the Temple in Jesus’ day. What happened though was that the psalms took on new meaning in the light of Jesus’ death and resurrection — not cancelling out the old but welcoming the new revelation of God with respect to Christ Jesus.
We only have a few verses of Psalm 118 (there are 29 verses in all) and have been using this same psalm throughout this Easter Week — using various verses to fit our Feast. Today the response is taken from the first verse: Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting. These are the words of praise — praise of the Father for giving us his Son and raising him from the community of the dead. This shows his goodness which flows from his undying love — covenant love. The psalm itself was probably composed for the Feast of Tents during which the Israelites recreated symbolic conditions of their liberation from Egypt and God’s making of the covenant at Mt. Sinai. So it is a psalm accompanying the pilgrimage of the faithful to renew the covenant. Our Easter is the renewal of the covenant by celebrating Jesus’ Paschal Mystery. So the Church down through the years uses this psalm to commemorate and deepen the God’s everlasting covenant love which is our salvation. So just as God is the one ultimately responsible for having a Feast of Tents, so the same God with the same merciful love has given us the Easter celebrations and the greater reason, namely, our resurrection and insertion into the covenant through Christ’s lovingly giving his life for us in reconciliation with the God of the covenant. Therefore this is a time of great joy, giving us reason to have Easter solemnities, which this year has taken a different form, but the Mystery is the same.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
This prayer of the Church speaks clearly why we have Easter year after year. It is our renewal of the covenant with the plea to God to take us deeper and deeper into his covenant plan of salvation. The second half of the prayer gives us specific “goals” God has set before us — constantly advance in our understanding, and consequently advance in sharing, of the basics of our faith in Father, Son and Spirit in which we were baptized, confirmed and participate at the Eucharistic banquet. Notice that these are the three Sacraments of Initiation in which the newly baptized generally share at the Easter Vigil.
1 Peter 1:3-9
The Church has baptized people from the beginning, following the resurrection of Jesus. You may recall that on the First Pentecost Peter gave an explanation of what was taking place in which he taught gave his life for us. The crowd then asked Peter what should we do and he responded be baptized. So evidently early on further explanation was given concerning baptism what happens to believers who go through this ritual. Even hymns were composed for the occasion of baptism putting the mystery into words. Some think that this Letter of Saint Peter was either a homily that gave or a hymn that was sang at baptism. With this in mind we can learn much about the effects of Jesus’ resurrection in someone who is turning to God through Christ and answering his call to be baptized.
Here are a couple of things in our passage today. By accepting in faith the risen Lord we praise the Father who out of love, merciful love, has brought to that faith and at the same time given us hope for our future all the way to the end of time. That hope rests on reality that Jesus is risen no more to die and therefore our attachment to him brings the promise of a life that can never be spoilt or soiled or never to fade away. This promise is guaranteed because the eternal Son of God raised from the dead is in heaven at the right hand of the Father. So our promise of eternal life is reserved for us in heaven and can never be lost. Peter calls this our heritage. So when a person is baptized the promised heritage is store up in the heavenly kingdom for us. Not only is it our hope but it is our joy — a joy that leads us to praise God. Joy is the basis of all liturgy. To be baptized means that we are welcomed into the worshipping community of persons who are to share the same heritage. No wonder baptism is necessary for salvation.
Providential for us believers is that Thomas was missing on the gathering of disciples on that first Easter evening. Also providential is that Thomas was with them the following Sunday. When I say providential I refer to the change we see in Thomas because we, too, are transitioning to greater depths of faith each Easter — and for the same reason that Thomas did. How did Thomas go from point A to point B? The others disciples were there on both Sundays. The same Jesus was there on both Sundays. What was different is that on the first Sunday Thomas did not get the chance to encounter the risen Christ. He did on the second. Thomas had been with the other disciples on many occasions. Encountering them did not bring him to faith. He did not believe them. But encountering Christ did. Encounter brings with it some sort of exchange between the persons who meet. It is not one sided. What did Christ do? What did Thomas? Jesus both spoke and produced some action in real time. He let Thomas see the deadly wounds of a living being and he said: do not be unbelieving, but believe. Thomas, for his part, did both as well in reply. He touched the wounds and while touching Jesus acclaimed him present: my Lord and my God. The merciful love of Christ was manifest in Jesus giving Thomas a second chance. Jesus did not reject him but offered him a way of repentance and he took it, accepted it. Such is the way the merciful love of God works. In our liturgies, which we miss so much, we encounter the risen Lord in much the same way. But it is Christ himself who is the celebrant of all our liturgies — Baptism, Eucharist, Penance….
Orthodox icon of the risen Lord
This is one version of Icon of Victory — the Resurrection. You may wish to make the image larger on your screen — just simultaneously press the Control Key and the plus sign or find a larger version on the Internet. All versions are not 100% identical. Slight differences occur. Comments below are based on the one pictured here.
Not many years ago when we received the most recent translation of the texts used at Mass there was some concern about the version of the newly added Apostles’ Creed which has the line He descended into Hell. Why couldn’t they have softened the translation or used some other word, e.g. descent to the realm of the dead (Eucharistic Prayer IV). Do we really need it? Certainly Jesus did not go to the realm of the damned. The various traditions throughout the world of the Easter celebrations show why this is important. Actually, as the Eastern Church’s icons show, this is way properly understood what Jesus accomplished through his resurrection. So let take a closer look at this icon above and see why for some it is the prime Easter icon.
We need some help in understanding the artistic representation of the faith reality of Jesus resurrection. Our brothers and sisters of the Eastern traditions can help us.
First of all, they did not think of Holy Saturday, the day intervening the death and resurrection, as a day of no activity for Jesus. What was he doing? He, like all the others before him who died, good or bad, entered the Underworld as they called it or Hades, or Hell. He went the way of all mankind. There he showed them that he was one of them and that he would raise them up with him to share in divine glory if they extended their hand in supplication seeking his help and mercy. So when Jesus was raised up all those before him, welcoming God’s promise, would be raised as well. This is the way the Father brought about the resurrection of the just — through the hand of his Son crucified and risen. This is why the Son of God became one of us. So how does this incorporated into the icon?
Let us identify who and what we see.
Christ is in the center, clothed in the white of divinity with a cross emblazoned halo and surrounded by a mandorla of light in the shape of an almond filled with the stars of the blue sky (heaven). In his left hand is a staff of authority topped with his cross victory symbol. (Hence the name Icon of Victory.)
For some speculation on my part — the women with jars of spices might be the women who followed Jesus all the way to his death and burial — Mary being in the middle. The figures at the left edge might be John the Baptist and royal figures of the artist’s century. Moses is somewhere in the icon probably on the right edge. The young man with the shepherd’s crook is Abel — the first to die by violence, a reminder of the hatred and violence against Jesus.
But who is at the bottom, coming out of the caskets? By those knowledgeable in these matters the man and the woman are Adam and Eve — dressed quite differently than in the Garden of Eden. They are holding out their hands in petition to the Christ who alone has the power to raise them out of their caskets. With them in the picture all mankind from the beginning are represented. The Risen Lord is Savior of all. Eve is in a posture of prayer with hands uplifted. Christ grasps Adam’s wrist — not the hand. Otherwise Adam and mankind would be using their own power to be raised up. This is the central action of the icon. The Risen Christ takes all mankind with him to the realms above.
But what is that at the bottom?
The two planks are the doors to Sheol, Hades, and Hell. Jesus has broken them open and stands in victory over them — never to be closed again. Paradise is reopened. At the very bottom is the skeleton representing the devil who is bound himself by Christ and unable to bind others and keep them in the tomb. The glorified Christ has conquered sin and death for us.
Probably the most significant feature of this representation of the Resurrection of Jesus is that the risen Christ is ALIVE & ACTIVE. This is not a “still portrait” of Jesus as he is now. Jesus is moving. His posture is such. The trailing edges of his garments are fluttering in the wind by his fast movement. He is in the process of extending his hand and raising Adam up. The risen Jesus is doing something and might be compared to John’s description of the empty tomb where the rolled up face cloth was done by Jesus himself after his resurrection. So our Eastern brothers and sisters show an Easter faith not only that Jesus is now alive but actually “working” for our salvation. The Christ of glory is with us still accomplishing the will of his Father in our time. For them the risen Savior is not “frozen in time” but alive, present and active. This is a wonderful icon for us at Easter as well.
So the Easter faith by this icon account is that Jesus and mankind are one. By becoming part of the human race (including his descent into Hell) he is able to raise us up just as the Father has raised him to glory at his right hand. The resurrection is a saving action of Christ according to the Father’s will.
More to come.
The Easter Andrea Bocelli concert in Milan’s empty cathedral continues to impress us — as it should. I discovered that if I view it with the sound off there is even wonders that become evident. For example, in the final segment where Andrea walks to a microphone at edge of the front steps of the Duomo. What is noticeable is that behind Andrea you can see the closed doors of the church. God’s church (building) is “closed” in a certain sense. But the faith lives on. It took living people to produce this event and living people to welcome it. It is truly a celebration of Easter.
So watching in silence helps discover what Andrea Bocelli and the arrangers of the concert intended to say. It is a high quality work in every regard. We can be proud that the Church, the people, promoted such a production. So here are a few items I found “hidden” in the YouTube video, which is still available Music for Hope.
I hope; you paid attention to the “poetic” introduction to the concert which was given in English subtitles at the beginning. Look at it again as given by Andrea from his heart (remember he is blind).
On the day in which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs
I’m honored and happy to answer “Si”
to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan.
I believe in the strength of praying together
I believe in the Christian Easter
a universal symbol of rebirth
that everyone whether they are believers or not
truly needs right now
Thanks to music, streamed live, bring together
millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world
We will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsating heart
this wonderful international forge that is reason for Italian pride.
The generous, courageous, proactive Milan and the whole of Italy
will be again and very soon a winning model
engine of a renaissance that we all hope for.
It will be a joy to witness at the Duomo,
during the Easter celebration which evokes the mystery of birth and rebirth.
The concert was produced in Italy but was very international — video clips from northern Italy, Paris, London and New York, all empty. It came from Milan, Italy from the hardest hit area of that country, the north which has suffered the most. I also noticed that just below the video to the left was the count of hits 35, 453,510 views — that’s millions, yes millions, up to that point with over 25,000 comments. That is how far reaching it was. In the introduction Andrea referred to the world wide audience whether believers or not. We all have this in common hoping for a rebirth. The concert pieces — Italian work, French, English, and concluded with the most recognizable song in the English-speaking world Amazing Grace. The empty cathedral, as Andrea said, would remain with us as a place that once again will be a witness of joy when filled with members of mankind celebrating Easter as the mystery of birth and rebirth.
Listen with your eyes, you will hear more than the music.
Andrea Bocelli Easter Concert
We have become used to the surprises of this Easter. God truly made himself visible during these unusual times — the living God, the eternal God who is with us.
Andrea Bocelli, the blind international singing talent, has opened our eyes of faith to his enduring love for us no matter what happens. Easter evening he and small group of recording technicians accepted the invitation of the mayor of Milan, Italy to present Music for Hope, a live broadcast from an empty Duomo (Cathedral) of Milan, interspersed with prerecorded clips. The concert has gone throughout the world. At last count over 30 million people have watched it live and through replay. The audience was not just Easter believers but resonated with mankind in general because the pandemic has touched all and thoroughly shaken our everyday life to its roots. Life is at stake — the subject matter of Easter and the Resurrection of Christ.
A thought has occurred to me and, I hope to you as well, why does this come to us from Italy? As Andrea said in his opening remarks: I believe in the Christian Easter. So the concert was “staged” at the Cathedral in Milan, Italy — empty but for the organist and Andrea. Churches throughout the world have been empty this Easter, not by man’s personal choice but by the providential love of God to direct our attention to the community nature of our faith in Christ Jesus. He gathers us to celebrate that mystery over and over again. This time maybe we will take a deeper look that our faith is a faith in the mutual love of the body of Christ, the Church. Look further from our faith perspective and see how hard hit was Italy by the coronavirus and the suffering and deaths of so many Catholic people became known worldwide. Wasn’t that the angelic Easter message to the first disciples: Go, tell the others.
This concert presented over the Internet has been long planned by God. The deep effect it has had on so many people is “proof” that God is with us and has raised his Son from the dead so that we might live for all eternity. You can add to the millions of watchers at YouTube by clicking this link: Music for Hope.
HAPPY EASTER, ALLELUIA!
Victimae Paschali Laudes
Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
HAPPY EASTER, ALLELUIA!