HAPPY EASTER! HALLELUIA, HALLELUIA!
The first Easter Sunday ever was the most significant and historic event in the Christian life, spirituality, and practice because it served as compelling evidence of Jesus’ victory over death. If Jesus never resurrected on the third day (early Sunday), then He was no different from us and other ordinary people. If there is no difference between us, then there is no need to come to Sunday Masses. In other words, if the resurrection event never happened, then Christianity never existed in the first place. Therefore, we as Christians are required to celebrate this event every Sunday in order to keep the sabbath honoring God as well as to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection. From this perspective, the act of going to Sunday Mass should carry a positive outlook as we gather together to meet one another in/through Christ. Sadly, for some Christians, it is not the case. Instead, going to Sunday Mass has become a chronic burden or weekend anxiety. Let’s honestly ask ourselves this question: Is the Sunday Mass a burden or blessing?
It is true that going to Mass is a mixed feeling. When I was younger, Sunday Mass for me was really inconvenient and burdensome. As I grow older as a priest, I must honestly admit that sometime I still struggle with this mixed feeling of burden and blessing. Perhaps this feeling may stem from that fact that I have a pastoral responsibility rather than personal unappreciation. How about you? Once a while I came across sitting in the pew at other churches, I found the Mass so boring and distractive. You may have experienced the same. To cope with boredom, I tend to integrate this feeling into my spirituality by putting myself in the shoes of those, especially Ukrainians, who yearn to have a peaceful moment to be in church. Or this boredom may serve as a way for me to do penance or to serve my time in purgatory now or waiting for later. Whichever way we will serve our time anyway and we can choose to do now or later. Surprisingly, this coping method has positively changed my perception of spiritual struggle over time. On the contrary, I always view every Eucharistic celebration as a way for me to pray with you as a big family of faith for the salvation of souls. Attending Mass is one of the most effective prayers for our loved ones who have gone before us. Today, we are still able to attend Mass and pray for our loved ones. Let’s do it. Tomorrow, come our children, but we must do our part today by passing on the goodness of faith to them.
Fr. Long Nguyen