April 20, 2014 An ‘Easter’ View from the Rectory Window

“Amen, amen, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy” (John 16:20).

Following a winter of unique impact, I look out this rectory window to blue skies, budding trees and flowers poking their stems through the newly placed mulch. With this backdrop it is easy to exclaim with my brother priests Fr. Ainikkal, Fr. Armando, Msgr. Conahan, Fr. Peterson, our wonderful staff Agnes Bross, Barbara Herr, Cathy Kornberg, Joanne McGuire, Jim and Linda McMahon, David and Mary Wurtz, the Pastoral and Finance Councils, and all the Catechists, Liturgical, and Social Ministers of our parish family:

Greetings and Easter peace and joy to you and your loved ones! Jesus Christ is risen! Alleluia! Our prayer is that you may have an Easter faith–the faith that helps all of us to find hope and new life in the Risen Christ from the “dark places” or painful experiences of our lives.

In our Judeo-Christian Tradition, we can note that the great moments of God’s Word occurred in the darkness. In the Book of Genesis, we read how God created light out of darkness. In the Exodus story, it was at night that Pharaoh sent for Moses to take his people and go into the wilderness. It was also during the night watch that Jesus, the Light of the World, was born. The Gospel of St. John on this Easter Morning begins with the words “Early in the morning while it was still dark…” In the darkness of the Easter morning, some disciples met the Risen Christ. Two thousand years later, as followers of this same Christ, we are called to look for Christ and transformation in “dark places.”

As I write these words I reflect upon how many times you have invited us in this past year to share with you, your own journey through many of these “dark places,” e.g., the death of a loved one, loss of health, loss of love and friendship, loss of job, loss of meaning, and loss of faith. For many others, the “dark places” might be an aging parent, caring continuously for a sick loved one with little or no support, fighting an addiction of some sort, quarreling with neighbors, conflict and stress in the workplace, and so on.

My prayer this Easter is that, in the same spirit of Mary, Peter and John, we might visit our own “dark tomb” and believe that good can come from this. Fortunately, to inspire our faith, we have lots of wonderful examples of people whose lives give a resounding “yes!” to the Risen Christ. In the dark place of his prison cell, St. Paul wrote some of his best epistles. St. John of the Cross wrote some of his best poetry in the darkness of his prison cell. Handel wrote part of his famous Messiah while in prison. These examples and millions of others down through the corridors of time, testify that “good things” can be discovered in “dark places.”

Easter is a wonderful reminder that we cannot overcome our difficulties and get out of our “tombs” on our own. Even Jesus did not overcome his great obstacles alone. Jesus did not rise up from the tomb by his own effort. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that “This Jesus God raised up” to new life. The Easter story assures us that we need God’s guidance and strength and we need to let go of trying to control life by ourselves. Let us place our hand in God’s hand and trust that God can raise us from our dark places.

I take this moment to share with you how grateful I am to share this journey of faith with you. I thank you for how you have supported me and one another through the sometimes dark places in our lives to places of life and light. I count myself blessed in so many ways because of you. May you and your loved ones have a very blessed Easter.

Father Pete