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Christ is risen, Alleluia!

Christ is risen, Alleluia!

Easter greetings from Bishop Boyea

Any parent would be willing to die for his or her child. But who would be willing to die for someone on death row, if we had a death row here in Michigan? Not many, I would guess. Christ has died. This is the incredible mystery of Holy Week. Jesus died for us sinners, not because we deserved it, not because we were good sons and daughters to our Heavenly Father. Only love, a love far beyond our poor ability to comprehend, could explain this. But it does not stop there. The Father in heaven sent his son for that purpose. A parent may be willing to die for the child, but what parent would send that child to die for someone else, especially someone who did not deserve it? Again, only love can explain that. When we say, “God is love,” we often think of that God and that love in the abstract. That is not very helpful for us. Rather, love is all about pouring oneself out for others. Thus, the Father pours out his son and the son pours out his blood and life, for us. That is what love means when we say, “God is love.”

It is a rarity for someone to believe that, at the end of life, there is absolutely nothing more, that it is all completely over. Most of us believe there is some soul or spirit or life force or energy that continues after our death. Christ is risen. Unless it had been revealed by Jesus himself, no one of us would have believed our bodies would also share in that afterlife. The idea that our material reality, our bodies, could be so transformed as to endure forever, as to share in the divine life which our souls will share, boggles the mind. Now we know our sharing in this bodily resurrection will not take place until the end of the world. Still, even to anticipate that these arms and legs will somehow share one day in eternal glory is another incredible mystery of Holy Week. There are many implications of this mystery. The first implication is that our material world is, as the Book of Genesis states, good. Our bodies are not traps or prisons of our souls. Rather, they are temples of the Holy Spirit and, thus, deserve respect and honor. The second implication is that we are to care for our bodies as temples and for our physical world as the good gift given to us. We are to be good stewards of creation.

It’s not over till it’s over. We get so caught up in our everyday lives and events that we tend to forget where all this is heading. We lose sight of the fact that there will be a judgment. St. Matthew’s image of the judge separating the sheep from the goats based on how well they treated the least of his brothers and sisters is one we really do not think much about. Christ will come again. We are looking forward to Christ’s return to judge the living and the dead, and to take us with him. This is yet another incredible mystery of Holy Week. Again, some things flow from this. Our lives matter. What we do on this earth has eternal implications. And there will be a judgment. There has to be. Certainly, we pray for mercy and we believe firmly that God is perfectly merciful. Otherwise, he would not have sent his son to die for us. But we also believe God is perfectly just. How God holds those two together is another mystery, but that is for God to resolve. We all know of cases where we hope that justice will prevail in the end, since it does not look like it always prevails here on earth. Christ’s return also means that we are forward looking. Of course, we are always to live in the present. Still we recognize that this is all going somewhere and this gives us hope.

All of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday gets wrapped up into every Sunday celebration of the Mass in which we participate. Each Mass renews the death of our Lord; each Mass proclaims the life of Christ which is now ours; each Mass gives us the sacred body and blood of Jesus that we share until he comes again.

Thus, a Blessed Easter to all of you. Know that you are remembered in all the Masses celebrated by me. In each of the Masses you celebrate, please join your lives more closely to that of Christ. Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.