Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
I just came home from the Vigil Easter Mass, the Church says Saturday night is the "Vigils of all vigils". It's clear why. At St. Michael's Parish, we had a large number of catechumens and candidates come into the Church tonight. It was a blessing to see the joy on their faces as they received the sacraments of initiation. Glory to God we as a church are growing.
Holy Week has been really special to me this year. Something I've come to discover and love is how the Church takes us through Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection in the realist way outside from actually having been there 2000 years ago. From Holy Thursday when Christ instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Holy Priesthood in the Upper Room, on through the Passion and Sacrifice of Christ on Good Friday. Good Friday is the only day in the liturgical calendar there is no Eucharistic Sacrifice. No Eucharistic prayer. The altar is stripped bare, no candles are lit and the church is dark. The crucifix hanging over the altar in every Catholic church becomes a vivid image of the reality that occurred many years ago outside Jerusalem. We proclaim Christ crucified! We venerate the Cross and we leave the church in an attitude of solemnity and gratitude. Then, of course the reason for our joy is the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on Sunday as he defeated death. It has never been clearer and more real to me than when I've become part of the Catholic Church. I've been able to witness all of this firsthand in the liturgical life of Christ's true Church. When the joy of Sunday arrives, we see for ourselves that Christ is not in the tomb, death can not hold him. The Eucharistic Sacrifice resumes, the altar is covered, the candles lit, and the Lord comes once again to us as Bread and Wine.
Indeed, Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!