Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Alleluia! He is risen! Today we celebrate the joy of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. On Easter Sunday in 2012, Pope Benedict XVI spoke these words to the people assembled in St. Peter’s Square:
“And lo, on the dawn of the day after the Sabbath, the tomb is found empty. Jesus then shows himself to Mary Magdalene, to the other women, to his disciples. Faith is born anew, more alive and strong than ever, now invincible since it is based on a decisive experience: “Death with life contended: combat strangely ended! Life’s own champion, slain, now lives to reign”. The signs of the resurrection testify to the victory of life over death, love over hatred, mercy over vengeance: “The tomb the living did enclose, I saw Christ’s glory as he rose! The angels there attesting, shroud with grave-clothes resting”.
Dear brothers and sisters! If Jesus is risen, then – and only then – has something truly new happened, something that changes the state of humanity and the world. Then he, Jesus, is someone in whom we can put absolute trust; we can put our trust not only in his message but in Jesus himself, for the Risen One does not belong to the past, but is present today, alive. Christ is hope and comfort in a particular way for those Christian communities suffering most for their faith on account of discrimination and persecution. And he is present as a force of hope through his Church, which is close to all human situations of suffering and injustice.”
If I may be so bold as to add to the late Holy Father’s words, I would add simply that Jesus desires to remain present with us in all things. Easter Sunday is often a day for many to return to Mass. May today be the day that all of us come to a new recognition of the desire the Lord has to remain with us in all that we do. As Benedict says, Jesus is indeed present for us today. Above all the ways He is present, Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist. And so the celebration of Mass, and our presence at Mass, becomes a privileged place of encounter and the best way that we can understand how Jesus wants to remain with us.
In the coming months, we plan to begin Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. The practice of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is deeply rooted in the Church’s history and tradition. In Adoration, we spend time in prayer to Jesus, who is present for us in the Eucharist. To engage in this practice perpetually means to keep watch with Jesus at every hour of the day and night. It means that 24/7 someone is in prayer, recognizing the Jesus who remains with us in all things. Perpetual adoration will make us a center of prayer and devotion, not only for our parish, but for anyone who passes our way. Our chapel will become that refuge from the chaos, hatred, and confusion of the world where we can recognize that Jesus, our “hope and comfort” in suffering is “present as a force of hope through his Church, which is close to all human situations of suffering and injustice.” Perpetual adoration is only possible with help from a great many people. If you would like to volunteer to spend an hour with the Lord in the Eucharist once a week, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Risen Lord is present for us, and He calls us to prayer!