Pastoral Reflections April 16, 2017

    A Note from Fr. Gary -

     

    My friends, we gather this day to give praise and thanks to our God for the gift of everlasting life. This Easter Sunday we gather to celebrate God’s victory over sin and death in the resurrection of His Son, Jesus. We gather as family and friends, as parishioners and guests, to be drawn more deeply into that new life that God promises us.

    Whether you are a regular parishioner here, or are visiting family and friends, or are simply here because something has drawn you to celebrate Easter with us, welcome!

    It is that sense of welcome, that sense of hospitality, which God has extended to us. What we have celebrated during this most Holy Week is the tender, loving, and merciful outreach of our God toward us.

    That outreach began at the dawn of creation, and continued down through history, even when the human race turned away from God. That outreach peaked in the coming of God among us in His Son. And now, God’s persistent pursuit of us in love and mercy plunges us into the mystery of God’s power to bring life to what was dead.

    Today we celebrate the central truth of our faith – that nothing is stronger than God’s life-giving love. Not even death itself could prevent God from accomplishing his purpose of bringing all creation into the newness of life.

    Since last Easter we have been touched, in our personal lives, and in the life of our world, by pain and sickness, evil and death. But, here we are, this day – the Day the Lord Has Made (Psalm 118), to be renewed in God’s promise that new life will always have the final say.

    We hope that all people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, find in this community of faith, a place to be reassured of God’s life-giving love. For what we celebrate today is not simply something that happened long ago and far away. Certainly, the death and resurrection of Jesus took place at a particular place during a particular time in history. And it is that most extraordinary act of God that makes possible what we do here together.

    But, the power of Christ’s resurrection isn’t just about the past. The power and the grace of that extraordinary event are present to us today. The Paschal Candle that burns in our sanctuary next to the Ambo, and which will be there throughout the Easter Season, is a reminder that Christ’s resurrection is a present reality.

    This day – this day that the Lord has made – is the day when God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, is still at work among us, bringing life out of death. That work continues whether the experience of death is literal – as in the death of a loved-one, or facing the prospects of our own death – or in the little deaths we die in our lives when a relationship ends, a job is lost, failure comes, or sin and brokenness is faced.

    This day that the Lord has made, this first day of the week, this day of the resurrection, is THE DAY for Christians to reaffirm that life wins. That is the message of this most glorious day. Death never again gets the final say, whether the literal experience of death, or those little deaths that touch our lives.

    May all of us be drawn deeper into this love of God that conquers death once and for all time. Yes, indeed, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

    Happy Easter!

    Fr. Gary Lazzeroni

    StJ_faviconMAILING Address: 6600 Highland Drive, Vancouver, WA 98661 Physical Address/Location: 400 South Andresen Road, Vancouver Phone: 360.696.4407 All Rights Reserved ©2017 by Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Vancouver, WA

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