Saturday, July 20, 2024

‘The Good News of Easter Rings Out Unchanged’

Empty pews of St. Patrick Cathedral are seen as Bishop Ronald Gainer celebrates Easter Sunday Mass, April 12. In his homily, the bishop said even in these times of uncertainty and separation, the Good News of Easter rings out unchanged.

Addressing Catholics through an online stream and live broadcast of Easter Sunday Mass from an empty St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg, Bishop Ronald Gainer shared words once preached by St. Augustine, as fitting today as they were in the times of the sixth-century bishop:
“We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song. So let us sing ‘Alleluia’ now in this world despite being oppressed by so many worries.”
“Augustine’s words preached 15 centuries ago speak to us in a fresh way in our present circumstances. Like the congregation who first heard Augustine, you and I may be oppressed by so many worries but like them we, too, need to be reminded that we are Easter people,” Bishop Gainer said.
“Even this year, even in our present situation of uncertainty, concern and separation, the Good News of Easter rings out unchanged and ever new. Jesus who died on the cross is risen in glory,” the bishop said.
His words of Easter exultation and faith in the Resurrection rang out in a cathedral starkly void of congregants, but to thousands of faithful watching on the Diocesan Facebook and YouTube pages, and via a live television broadcast on ABC27.
The dichotomy of the joyous Easter celebration proclaimed and shared through social media played out in churches across the Diocese, nation and world, as they remained closed to the public in an effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Holy Week liturgies, priests connected the current of uncertainty, fear, illness and death permeating the pandemic to the experience of Christ and his disciples during that first Holy Week.
On Easter Sunday, homilies heartened the faithful, with uplifting messages of hope in the Resurrection, the victory of light over darkness and Christ’s triumph over sin and death.
“The beautiful Paschal Candle is a great symbol of Christ’s Easter victory,” said Bishop Gainer.
“Easter – the Paschal Mystery – assures us that before we ever thought about our sin; before we ever thought about the harm our sin does to us and to others; before we ever thought about the affront that our sins are to God and his love and mercy; before we ever thought to repent of our sins; before we ever thought to beg God for forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; before all of that – Christ had already borne our sins, died for them and rose victoriously over them. The Via Crucis is now the Via Lucis – the Way of the Cross has become the Way of Light,” he said.
Under the light of the same Candle, we were baptized, and called to ‘live as children of the Light,’ the bishop remarked.
“And so it is at Easter each year that we need to remember and recommit to the moment when the glorious Christ pulled us to the light and life of the Resurrection through the waters of baptism,” he said. “This we must remember in every circumstance that we are Easter people and we need to sing Alleluia in this life despite the many worries that might oppress us. We need to renew and be renewed by the promises of our baptism. Christ is risen.”
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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