Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! He is Risen!
This is the refrain that is exclaimed over and over again on Easter, and should be sung throughout the year. Easter is not just today, Easter is a Season that we celebrate for fifty days until Pentecost Sunday. Beyond that, every Sunday of the year is considered a “little Easter.” Today we are called to rejoice, and not to let up rejoicing, for the Resurrection of Jesus means that Jesus is alive today and every day.
In order to appreciate the powerful meaning of the Resurrection it’s helpful to recall that first Easter and the accounts of recorded in Sacred Scripture. We hear that when Mary Magdalene discovered that Jesus’ tomb was empty she ran to the upper room to tell the Apostles. Their immediate response was not that of the Halleluiah Chorus. They were still mourning and the intensity of their sadness blurred the glory that was before them. The grief present in the upper room, with the disciples who started to return to their former ways, and all who put their hope in Jesus, was real and deep. When the glory of the Risen Lord finally tore through the sadness, they recognized the Risen Lord, and that was when the shouts of “Alleluia!” came forth from them.
For the disciples and apostles Easter was a new beginning. They began to understand the fuller meaning of many of the teachings and miracles of Jesus. The Risen Lord spent forty days with them during which they grew in faith, hope and love. At the time of his Ascension he told them to wait and pray in Jerusalem. They did and on the tenth day they experienced the power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Difficult times did not disappear but took on a new meaning when they saw how the suffering of Christ led to his Glory. Their suffering was united with the suffering of Christ, and Christ’s glory became their Glory, and is our Glory, and we are called to live in the hope of Christ’s glory.
The experience of the Risen Lord has blessed the Church for two thousand years. There were times when the church faced persecution, suffering, heresy, division, corruption, disappointment, and reform. The Risen Lord was present with the church during all of this and guided, protected, and restored it. The same is true for the millions of members of the Church and all that various experiences they had, the Risen Lord did not let them down. Way back in the early Fourth Century St. Augustine of Hippo said, “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our Song!” The grace of the Easter Season can remove sadness from our hearts, doubts from our minds and complacency from our souls It is a grace that can replace these with joy, renewed faith and a new zeal. The blessings of this season are being poured out on us, all we need do is to open ourselves to receive them and stake claim to the power of the Risen Lord in our lives today. We are loved by God and embracing the Risen Lord is accepting this love and allows the beautiful presence of our Risen Lord to break through anything in our lives that stands in the way and fill us with joy. Today and for the next 50 days make an effort not to permit whatever sadness or darkness that might be a part of your life to overshadow the Joy of the Resurrection. The Risen Lord is far greater than any struggle, tragedy or darkness that we might be encountering. Allow the glory of the Resurrection to overshadow all of these so that we may experience the love and joy of the Risen Lord and cry out in our hearts and with our voices, “Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Jesus is Risen!”
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.
Photo: Brother Placid Sellers, O.S.B. Window design: Father Vincent de Paul Crosby, O.S.B.