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Sunday, April 23, 2000

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Easter Sunday

Romans 6:3-11
Acts 10:34, 37-43
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Psalm 118

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easter by faith, not by sight (see 2 cor 5:7)

"You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the One Who was crucified. He has been raised up." —Mark 16:6

Alleluia! Jesus is risen! "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54-55) Praise Jesus, "the Resurrection and the Life"! (Jn 11:25)

A few years ago, I celebrated the Easter Vigil at an inner-city church about to be closed, the last Easter Vigil celebrated at this church. After the church's lights were turned on following the blessing of the new fire and the lighting of the Easter candle, I was shocked. Only five people were in the main body of the church. There were almost as many people in the choir as were in the rest of the congregation. It broke my heart to see this parish in ruins — a parish which previously had two assistant pastors and a school taught by ten nuns. Nevertheless, we celebrated the Easter Vigil. We celebrated by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Although we looked and felt dead rather than alive in Christ, we rang all the bells we could find at the "Gloria" and praised God as much as if the church had been filled.

On this first day of the Easter season, many of us, like the women at Jesus' tomb, are "bewildered and trembling" (Mk 16:8). Right now, we don't look risen and victorious. Our lives are "hidden now with Christ in God" (Col 3:3). However, the fact is that through Baptism we "have been raised up in company with Christ" (Col 3:1). Therefore, by faith let us live our Baptisms and be witnesses for the risen Christ (see Acts 10:41, 42). Alleluia! He is risen!

Prayer:  Father, when I renew my baptismal promises, may I make the deepest act of faith in my life.

Promise:  "Through baptism into His death we were buried with Him, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life." —Rm 6:3-4

Praise:  Alleluia! Jesus is risen! "This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it" (Ps 118:24). Alleluia forever!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 4, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 1999