I am writing this on Easter Sunday.  I must admit that I am somewhat exhausted.  I actually took a little nap after I went out to brunch with my family and some friends.  It was great to be with them, but after about 1½ hours, I sort of said, I’m done and needed to leave.  I then went home and slept.

The whole celebration of the last three days was such an incredible and awe-inspiring experience.  I have to say that it does not take much for me to go to a different place when celebrating the Triduum and Easter.  I remember when I was in my early twenties and I played guitar at my home parish in our folk group.  (I won’t say I played the guitar well—just well enough.)  It was Easter Sunday, and during the celebration I recall this moment when God’s love just overwhelmed me.  It almost felt like my heart was ready to burst open.  I was so overcome that I asked God to stop. I could not even understand how to react to what I was experiencing.  The power of the resurrection of Christ has always had a profound impact on my life, and just the thought of the love of Christ brings a deep and abiding joy to me.  I believe it is because I recognize just how much of a sinner I truly am, and yet… God chooses to love me.  Just thinking about this and writing about it brings a big smile to my face and a deep joy in my heart.

The last four days was, for me, such a wonderful experience of God’s awesome love and mercy.  The music, the proclamation of the readings, the homilies, the Church decorations, and the very rituals each night and day brought me to a new place in my relationship with Christ.  I truly am blessed to be part of two such Christ-filled communities.  And, I very much felt his presence during our celebration of the holiest time of the year.  We are now in the heart of what our faith is all about—celebrating God’s answer to our rejection of Him.  When we crucified Christ, we rejected God and told Him to leave us alone.  And God responded by turning our rejection into our salvation.  The whole season of Easter is a celebration of God’s transforming love.  And, it is that love that has been a deep motivation in my life, as well as calling me to question why I do the things I do.

Do I do them for the love of God, or because I want what I want?  I think it is both.  As I struggle to follow Christ and to seek to walk the path He calls me to, it is not always easy: I too often get in the way.  And when that happens, the solution is to simply remember Easter.  God loves me not because I am perfect.  God loves me not because I am a saint.  God loves me not because I always choose his will.  God loves me not because I am the witness to the faith that I am called to be.  God loves me not because I love Him and my neighbor as I should.  The reason I say this is because too often in my life I fail at all of it.  God loves me for one simple reason: He has chosen to love me and will never stop doing so.  He has made that promise to us, and the Cross and Resurrection are both a sign and a fulfillment of that promise.  As Mother Theresa said, “God does not want us to be successful, but faithful.”  Even in my brokenness and sinfulness, I can remain faithful.  King David is proof of that.

King David did some atrocious things as king, and yet God said of him, “His heart is always with me.”  Remember that God does not judge as we do.  We judge by appearance; God judges by the heart.  David showed the truth of what Saint Paul said when he wrote: “I do the things I do not want to do.”  Or, when Jesus said that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  King David remained always open to hear the voice of God in his life.  Each time he messed up and a prophet called him on it, he immediately repented.  David never showed any hesitation to turn away from the sin he committed, and that was a sign of his faithfulness.  God knows we will mess up, but the question is… how will we respond when we are called to account for our actions?  Will we double down and say there is nothing wrong with what we are doing?  Or, will we follow the example of King David, and reject our sin and turn back to God?

When we reject our sin, we are choosing to die with Christ.  We are again choosing Christ first.  We are dying in that moment to our own wants and desires, and that leads us back to life.  We are with Christ on the cross, and we cry out to the Father saying, “Into your hands, Father, I commend my spirit.”  We give up our spirit to the Lord, saying, “It is finished.”  I am done with my brokenness and my sinfulness, and I give it to Christ to be nailed to the cross.  And as we enter the tomb, it is not dark and scary, for Christ is with us.  He is the merciful judge who is calling us out of the tomb, as He did Lazarus.  He is calling us to be unbound and set free from sin, to live once more in his freedom.  It is there that we will come to truly experience the transforming power of Christ’s resurrection.

Easter is such an incredible time for us, to contemplate the depth of God’s love for us, a love that is truly never ending.  And we can never do anything that will prevent God from loving us.  What we just celebrated reminds us of this incredible truth.  Therefore, let us remember that we are truly an Easter people—and ‘Alleluia’ is our song.

If you have any questions about anything, please do not hesitate to ask me directly, or send your questions to me at fr.brian@chelmsfordcatholic.org.

Please keep me in your prayers.

In Christ,

Fr. Brian