(Editor’s note: In the original posting yesterday, the link to the included homily broadcast did not work. It has been corrected.)
Happy Easter, everyone! Christ is risen today! Alleluia!
It’s been a beautiful day here in Southwest Ohio. A perfect day to celebrate and be joyful. It didn’t begin that way for me, though. I caught my annual springtime cold on Thursday and it’s steadily worsened. I did go to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper Thursday evening and coughed and sneezed my way through it. And, as my cold got worse overnight, I knew better than to go to the Stations of the Cross and the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, and I decided to skip going to the Easter Vigil Mass as well.
After a fitful night’s sleep I poured myself out of bed this morning and made it to 9:00 a.m. Mass. I managed to make it through with only a few coughs and no sneezes. But, between my head being stopped up and the additional noise from all the extra people, I didn’t understand a word of Father’s homily.
In resignation, I closed my eyes and repeated Simon Peter’s words from the Transfiguration, “It’s good that I am here”, and gave thanks for the opportunity to offer up my suffering and unite it to His cross.
As I stood to go up to communion I recalled the words from the second reading, Col 3:1-4, “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” With each step forward I was drawn to the glory of Christ resurrected, and away from the fogginess I’d been experiencing all morning. By the time I reached the priest to receive the Eucharist, I felt an intense inner peace and knew I was smiling from ear to ear. As I walked back to my seat, letting the Body of Christ dissolve on my tongue, I looked upwards, still smiling, thinking of what is above, and I spied above the entrance doors to the church the Risen Christ on the cross with His arms spread wide in love. He was saying to me, “Your life is hidden here with Me.”
As I knelt back at my seat and said my prayer of thanksgiving after communion, that feeling stayed with me. I wasn’t focused on the way I felt, didn’t work to fend off a coughing fit or stifle a sneeze. I just focused on Jesus, thankful for the hope that my destiny will be with him. I knew that I will suffer things in my life much worse than a common cold, but in the end all of it will pale in comparison to the joy I will find when I find myself with Him.
I left Mass feeling pumped up spiritually yet drained physically, and still somewhat frustrated that I hadn’t heard well enough to understand Father’s homily. I felt a little cheated. Then, about two hours later, I received a message from a friend with a link to a homily from Fr. Ehli at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck, North Dakota, where my friend’s daughter attends church. It was like the Holy Spirit heard my grumblings and blessed me with what was probably an even better homily on which to meditate. It hit home with me and I feel I need to share it with you here: Fr. Ehli’s homily. The homily begins at the 20:30 mark and ends at 31:30. I won’t give his message away except to say that, between it and my experience at Mass, knowing what’s in store at the end makes the getting there, even with springtime colds and other struggles, much more peaceful.
I pray that your Easter has been a joyful one, that your Hope has found new life knowing that Christ defeated death and He is holding a place for you. God bless you!
“Lord Jesus, You suffered and died for me and redeemed me of my sins. Your resurrection defeated death and gave the world hope that, by following You, we may also defeat death and live with you for all eternity. Thank you! Amen.”
Resolution: I desire to sow the seeds of this Word today by making a concrete resolution to live with more peace in the present moment.
(Peace in Knowing the Meaning of Easter was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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