He Has Risen! Alleluia!
Today we celebrate the event that caused the disciples to recognize and accept the Message of Resurrection, the Message of Salvation, and the Message of Eternal Life!
During this past week we have commorated the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, we celebrated Holy Thursday with the washing of the feet and the institution of the Eucharist. Then, on Good Friday, we walked with Jesus through the proverbial streets of Jerusalem as He carried His Cross to Calvary. Last night, at the Easter Vigil, we shared in the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation….. Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion. And we will celebrate this festive season right up to the Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the disciples!
During these forty days of Lent which we just concluded, many of us took some time for additional prayer, or the study of Sacred Scripture, or some spiritual reading. Last month when I was at the Religious Education Congress, I picked up two books by Father Greg Boyle, the Founder of Homeboy Industries. All of his writings concentrate on seeing the Face of Christ in one another and seeking that time of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. All of his books are available through Liturgical Press on their website at www.litpress.org I invite you to take a look at what is currently being offered. I’m sure that you will find something that is very worthwhile!
The other book that I bought is entitled, “Pope Francis – Against War – Building a Culture of Peace!” It was published just a couple of months after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and the Pope shares his insights into how the war has affected him – and all of us. Pope Francis challenges us to see the “rivers of blood and tears that are flowing in Ukraine. It is not merely a military operation, but is a war that sows death, destruction, and misery.” The Pope then calls us to set human life above any human strategy, and he invites us to pray together to Our Lady, Queen of Ukraine.
Throughout the book Pope Francis expresses his concerns over nuclear arms. He reminds us that, “The Holy See continues steadfastly to maintain that in the Twenty-first Century nuclear arms are an inadequate and inappropriate means of responding to security threats, and that possession of them is immoral. Their production diverts resources from integral human development, and their employment not only has catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences, but also threatens the very existence of humanity.”
One aspect of the book that I found to be particularly interesting is how Pope Francis points out the consistency of this teaching by his predecessors and other leaders of the Catholic Church throughout the Twentieth Century. He includes quotes from Saint Pope John XXIII, Saint Pope Paul VI, Saint Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. This wonderful book is only 132 pages and it is available through Orbis Books at www.orbisbooks.com Like Father Greg Boyle’s books, I think that you will find this to be a fascinating view of how our Catholic Church continues to respond to the evil that is not the will of God!
On this Easter Sunday, let us continue to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, and how His message that He gave to His disciples 2,023 years ago needs to be continually spread throughout our world today!
Blessed Easter to you and your loved ones!
Father Paul Spellman