SJ Easter Altar 2024

OUR LORD’S GREAT WORK March 31, 2024

Posted : Mar-29-2024

 “This is the Day that the Lord has made,

 let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

(Psalm. 117:24).

     Easter is the high point of the Church’s year, towards which the first part of the year tends, and from which the remainder of the year flows. When we celebrated the coming of Christ into the world at Christmas and its associated feasts, Epiphany and the Presentation, they were the preparation for Our Lord’s “great work”, for which He had been sent to earth by His heavenly Father.        

     After Easter, the Ascension completes Christ’s glorification as man in heaven, and Pentecost celebrates the sharing of all the graces Christ won for us by His death and resurrection through the coming of the Holy Spirit, whom the Father and Son send to us to make us holy.

     Easter is the culmination of all that Christ came to do. All His teaching, all His miracles, are incomplete without His Passion, Death and Resurrection. And those three, Passion, Death and Resurrection, are all one. Easter does not reverse the tragedy of Christ’s sufferings, it completes them. Christ does not even lose His wounds in His risen state but shows them to the Apostles as trophies of His victory.

     Last night at the Easter Vigil, the climax of the entire year, we began by celebrating the eruption of light into the darkness, just as Christ was raised to new life from the darkness of death and the grave. That light spread from the Easter Candle, representing Christ in glory, to each one of us present, who have been baptized into new life. Then having listened to God’s wonderful works, from creation through Abraham and the Exodus, through the Prophets to Christ’s resurrection, we celebrated the new life of the risen Christ in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, bringing to new birth more children of God destined for salvation.

     Now we celebrate fifty days of continuous Easter joy, in thanksgiving to God for this gift of salvation which Christ has won for us by His death and resurrection, and looking forward to the endless joy of heaven promised to all those who love God faithfully in this life. Also, last night at the Vigil, we greeted the joyful light of our Saviour’s rising to new life by singing once more the “Alleluia”, absent from our lips throughout Lent. Now our Lenten fast is over, for we have shared Christ’s sufferings in them, and by His grace have been enabled to grow in love of God and neighbour, and so may enjoy the triumph of life over death.

     As Cardinal Newman so eloquently puts it: “They alone are able truly to enjoy this world, who begin with the world unseen. They alone enjoy it, who have first abstained from it. They alone can truly feast, who have first fasted; they alone are able to use the world, who have learned not to abuse it; they alone inherit it, who take it as a shadow of the world to come, and who for that world to come relinquish it.”   (Parochial and Plain Sermons).                   

                                                                                      ~ FR. PAUL DOBSON