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Apr 19, 2014

Christ Our Light

Written By Guest Author Father David T. Fitzgerald

My dear brothers and sisters in The Risen Lord,

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!  The Lord is Risen, Alleluia.

Each year the church begins to prepare for the coming feast of Easter by inviting all Catholics to mark their foreheads with ashes. These black ashes that call us to repentance echo images of the darkness of the earth mentioned in Genesis and the darkness that descended upon the earth when our loving Savior was crucified and died. We hear again about the darkness of the tomb where the body of our Savior lay for three days before he rose triumphantly. Darkness is something that causes little children to be afraid. Darkness often provides a cover with which we can keep our shameful activities hidden. But, as even the Scriptures tell us, darkness serves it's own particular purpose.

Before Mary of Magdala first peered into the empty tomb she had to be prepared for whatever she would find. She arrived, the Scriptures tell us, early in the morning when it was still dark. Then, not exactly sure why the stone had been rolled away, she ran to Simon Peter and John, both of whom accompanied her back to the now empty tomb. Together, in the darkness, it began to dawn on them that something incredulous had happened. In the darkness they came to believe that Christ had risen from the dead.

Very often we associate Easter with the sun, spring flowers, budding trees, warmer weather and new life. Around Easter time the days get longer and the night gets shorter. Light seems to triumph over darkness, as indeed it does when the light of Christ overcomes the darkness of sin.

But I believe that we cannot fully appreciate the blessings of the light unless we have walked in darkness. Sometimes the darkness refers to an absence of light, but it can also be symbolic of sin, ignorance, doubt, denial, suffering, tragedy and pain. These experiences are often referred to as the dark moments, dark times and dark days. 

"The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light!"

To those who feel they are lost somewhere in the dark of doubt or sin, to those who have become enveloped in the darkness that takes us further and further from the light I say, "Do not be afraid." For in the darkness the light is more readily and easily seen. Just as in the darkness of Holy Saturday evening the faithful gather to light and bless a new fire, so too do we find that souls lost in darkness begin to search anew for the light of Christ. No matter how great the darkness is, it never overcomes the light. In darkness we light the Paschal Candle and carry it into a darkened church. We sing "Light of Christ - Thanks be to God" and then we share the light passing it from one person to another.

In the darkness that surrounds the Easter Candle we sing the "Exultet" and as we continue our Easter Vigil, we sing of those who, having gathered together in darkness, stand together in holy light asking for God's blessings.

As we listen to the readings of the Old Testament that remind us that God created the darkness and saw that it was good, we hear that God also created the light. Both darkness and light have their own particular purpose. Light leads us out of darkness and shows us the way to The Lord.

The Light of Christ has indeed come into the world. Jesus has conquered the darkness of sin and death and we are called to share in His Victory.

Easter is not just a time for recalling what happened in the past. It is not just a promise for eternal life in the future. Easter makes living on this earth worthwhile because it promises that the eternal light of Christ shines upon the world at every precious moment of each day. Easter allows us to grieve with hope, to rejoice in our sorrow and to grow so deeply in our faith that we focus more and more on God and others and less and less on our own selves. Easter allows us to dare to believe that God loves us even in our sinfulness and that God reaches out to us with the hands of the risen Savior who says, "Peace be with you."

May the joy, hope and peace of the risen Lord be with you, your families and all those we serve, especially the priests and religious who have been united with Him in their suffering and who now long to share in His resurrection.

Amen, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." John 1:15

Blessing to you for a Glorious Easter 
From The Daily Journey

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