Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When I think about all that has taken place in our parish over the past 40 days, I can see how this Lenten season has truly been a pilgrimage. This pilgrimage has taken us through the desert on many occasions, as well as to lofty peaks. As a parish community, brothers and sisters in the family of God at this place, we have been on a journey that has helped us to experience both death and new life; both repentance and renewal.
Through the events of our lives over these Lenten days, and especially through the powerful and dramatic liturgies of Holy Week, we have rejoiced with our Lord at his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday; we saw his betrayal at the hands of Judas; we reclined at table with him on Holy Thursday; we walked with him along the via dolorosa; we stood at the foot of his cross on Good Friday; and we have watched with him as he lay in the tomb, as we looked towards the morning dawn of his rising. In a very real sense of the word, we have entered into and experienced the paschal mystery of our Lord. It has become part of us, and we part of it; not only in our liturgies, but also in the many different events of our lives; and at long last, we have been brought here on this Easter morning to share in the triumph of Christ and to rise with him. The life, death and resurrection of our Lord has been lived out in our lives this Lenten season, and that rhythm of sharing in Christ’s dying and rising is being experienced still.
It is a very real privilege and honor for me to have been able to live out this Good News with you, and to share with you in the joy of the resurrection this morning. It has been a very “connected” experience that has refreshed and reaffirmed my belief in the trueness of the resurrection. I believe, I know, that Jesus is alive, not only from the Gospel witnesses, but also because I have observed and experienced his risen power at work in his Church, here in this parish, and in our lives. Through Word and Sacrament and Christian community, and especially in the sacrament of the Holy
Eucharist, where the risen Lord shares himself with us so intimately in his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, we experience Jesus alive and active in our midst. It is a great mystery that is almost beyond explanation. It is something that has to be experienced, much as we have experienced it together during these holy days.
So, let us rejoice and celebrate the triumph and joy of this Easter day with each other, and continue to seek the Lord’s grace to grow in holiness and virtue, and to support each other as we continue our Easter journey over these next 50 days, and into life eternal.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Fr. Richard Ballard