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The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul
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The angels forbid our tears!

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Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP - published on 04/12/20

We do not pretend that life is all beauty ... But we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery.

Where does my joy come from?

One of the reasons our quarantine is so haunting is because we’re left alone to face the shadows of ourselves. 

But this day, Easter Sunday, is not a day for shadows. Gone are the somber trappings of Lent! Gone are melancholic melodies! Gone are the forty days of penance! Easter, especially this Easter is, and must be, a great feast of joy!

In an apostolic letter written just a few years ago, Pope Francis said to the Church, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.” This Easter Sunday is the day when that joy can be renewed.

As everything was taken from us during the quarantine, as we go without each Lent, what do we cling to? We are forced to ask ourselves: Where comes our hope? What feeds our charity? What causes joy in my life? It is faith! Faith is the secret source of Christian joy.

For Easter to make any sense at all, one must see with the eyes of faith. Faith unshaken kept Mary Magdalen devoted even at the tomb. When she first arrives at the tomb, she weeps. St. Augustine of Hippo remarks:

The angels forbade her tears: for by such a position what else did they announce, but that which in some way or other was a future joy? For they put the question, ‘Why do you weep?’ as if they had said, ‘Weep not.’

For her faith, she received the gift of first seeing the risen Christ! What joy she must have upon realizing his identity in the garden, all because of her great faith. 

The apostles too raced upon hearing Mary Magdalen’s proclamation. Their sprint to the tomb is a race of faith, for had they not faith, they wouldn’t have been interested at all. Incredulity and deep deep joy was the result of their footrace.

Pope John Paul II once said,

We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. ‘We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!’

As Easter candles were lit around the world last night, they were a sign of a people filled with faith. Those Easter candles, symbols of Christ, shed light in every heart which gazed upon them. The light of those candles is the light of faith spread throughout the world. As Christians lit candles in their homes and kept watch with their families, they professed again their faith.

Christ is the true light. As St. John puts it in his Gospel, “The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (John 1:9). That light shines forth on the radiant morning of this Easter.

Today, Easter Sunday, as we raise up prayers and sing Alleluia! to the Risen Christ there is every reason to be joyful, for we have our faith!

Faith, the true light, allows us to encounter again our salvation. Faith is cause of deepest joy.

That Christ is truly risen

from the dead we know.

Victorious King, Thy mercy show!

Amen. Alleluia

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