St. Anselm’s Church

Easter Message 2016

Dear Parishioners of St. Anselm Parish,

So Mary of Magdala ran and went to Simon Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” John 20:2

Jesus’ body was gone! The tomb was empty.  These words drove further devastation into the hearts of the apostles after the crucifixion of Jesus. Now Peter could not have even the consolation of sitting by the tomb and weeping for his sin of denial. Mary Magdalene could not have the consolation of visiting the tomb to quietly reflect on the loving words of her Lord. James and John could not have the consola­tion of praying at the tomb when their anger flared at people who did not listen to them. The hearts of all the disciples and apostles gath­ered in the Upper Room sank because their last connection with Jesus, His dead tortured body . . . was gone!

Then something happened that turned the whole situation around. Yes, the tomb was empty. It was empty not because the body had been stolen but because Christ had risen!  The accounts of angels in the tomb and the ap­pearances of Jesus, somehow, some way, the companions of Jesus were convinced that Jesus was alive –not merely as a powerful bodied soul but as the living person they had known in the weeks and years before the events of Good Friday. This is Hope!

This message of hope has been passed down to us in the preaching of the Church and in the written words of Scripture. This message of hope colored all that the early Christians said and did.  It gave focus to the way they saw life.  When Paul wrote his first letter, when Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote their Gospels many years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, this message of hope was central to their writings. They wrote not as reporters or his­torians intent on getting the facts straight — but as believers bursting to share the good news that now we have hope!

When we look around us at the crime and shootings in our streets, when we see greed and wanton disregard for people and property, when we realize that all life can be wiped out. When we see hearts breaking in families because husbands and wives, children and parents no longer commun­icate, we cry out, “Where is it all going and when is it all going to end?” When we come into contact with poverty, men­tal illness, sickness, sin, death, we feel that the forces of evil must be winning. When we reflect on all that is happening in our lives and around us, we are tempted to feel the despair of the apostles in the pre-dawn hours of that first Easter. We are tempted to cry, “They have taken our Lord away and we know not where they have laid Him.” Our hope in the face of the threat of terrorism, our hope in the face of death, of our own weakness, of crime and suffering, lies in hearing, accept­ing, living and proclaiming that same message, “Christ is alive will come again.”

From the entire pastoral team and staff, we pray for you and your families and loved ones, A Happy and Blessed Easter to one and all! ! ! With heartfelt gratitude, I also thank the musicians, choirs, ushers, greeters, decorators, acolytes and altar servers, CCD Teachers, Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and Word Ministers, Parish men’s security surveillance team and our staff of workers for their dedicated and loving service to our parish.  We are indeed blessed with such selfless and loving followers of Christ.