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Paschal Joy

The Easter Vigil

[All public liturgies in the State of Ohio are currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. This will be one part homily and one part pastoral message to my parishioners.]

Over the past few weeks one of the phrases that has helped keep us all sane is “one day at a time”. Trying to plan things here at the parish as all the changes kept coming and changing and extending… the only thing we could do was say, “well, one day at a time.” All of us are worrying about our health, about families, about our income… the best we can do is tell ourselves, “well, one day at a time.” Everyone throughout the world is wondering when things will go back to normal, what the criteria will be to decide that, and the experts wisely can not say more than, “well, one day at a time.”

But tonight in the life of faith we do not take the one day at a time approach. Not even the “one year at a time” or “one generation at a time”. Tonight we look at all of salvation history, from the first moment of our creation to the first moment of our redemption in Christ. We look at everything and it is a story of absolute joy.

God created us and saw that his creation was good. We strayed but he made a covenant with us through Abraham, a promise to make us his own. He delivered his people from slavery in Egypt so that they could be with him. The creator proclaimed his love for us that will never leave us. Even though is higher than the heavens and beyond our comprehension he loves us and will provide for us. To be separated from him is nothing less than death in its truest form, and he loved us so much as to go there himself and destroy it, so that because of what he did for us we might never… never be separated from him again.

All of this has been handed onto us so that we can live our lives with joy. Not the temporary, passing, and hollow joy that this world tries to offer us in so many ways, but real joy. The joy that cannot be shaken by a time of hardship, the joy that we do not earn but only respond to. A Paschal joy.

You will hear that phrase in every mass for the rest of the Easter season. Paschal joy. It will be during the preface right before the holy, holy, holy. Every Easter season I’ve wondered about that phrase and what it means. Paschal joy. This year I understand a new part of it. Paschal joy, the joy that comes from the Paschal mystery of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, is a joy that goes beyond the day-to-day, beyond the vision of one day at a time. It is a joy that is rooted far deeper in the entire story of salvation, of who our God is, and what he had done for us.

My prayer this Easter season will be that you find Paschal joy, that when you lift your eyes from the one day at a time mentality we need right now, you lift them past the weeks ahead and instead to the kingdom of Heaven, and know that our God made us, loves us, and healed us.

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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.

Published inHomilies