Easter Message 2021


Christ the Lord is Risen, Alleluia!
He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

by Father John Raphael, ’89

There are no more glorious, no more wondrous, no more powerful words than those of the Church’s great Easter acclamation, Christ the Lord is risen, Alleluia!

This is because there is no more glorious, no more wondrous, no more powerful event in human history than the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, He is Risen, Indeed, Alleluia!

At Easter, devout Christians exuberantly celebrate His earth-shattering, death-destroying triumph over Satan and sin in His own bodily resurrection from the dead.

For over two-thousand years this has been the cry of Holy Mother Church, the very heart and soul of the Gospel she preaches, that by the death and resurrection of Jesus all creation has been set free and called to live in a radical communion with God! As we read in the Acts of the Apostles:

And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee’ (Acts 13:32-33).

We who are believers now, today’s disciples of the Lord Jesus, joyfully join the throng who have preceded us, marked with the sign of faith in the crucified and resurrected Lord, and with our own voices shout, Alleluia!

We take full advantage of the Church’s celebration of this awesome mystery not only for a day but for an Octave, not only for an Octave but for a Season! Why? Because there is so much to celebrate, so much to unpack, so much to relive as we personally enter into the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord.

Every year this is a privileged moment for us, but is it not especially so this year? Has not the past year been an intensified reminder to us of the destructive forces that have entered the world as a result of sin? This includes not only the rupture caused by human iniquity and infidelity, but the cumulative impact of the Original Sin on the entire created order.

We have lived through a year filled with calamity and uncertainty. We have been disappointed and disillusioned. We have often felt isolated and abandoned. In truth, for most, it has been a year very much in the spirit of the Passion of the Lord we have just commemorated during Holy Week.

It is precisely because of this experience that our Easter celebration this year takes on even greater significance. As we gradually and safely emerge from the confines of the lockdown; as we cautiously begin to resume the activities that give so much meaning to our spiritual, familial and social lives, as we find ourselves once again meeting and greeting each other, interacting and celebrating the goodness of the Lord in our lives, we are reminded of that which gives all these things eternal significance, the resurrection of Jesus, the triumph of eternal good over every possible form of evil.
It is with faith in the Risen Lord, hope in His promise of eternal life to all who believe in and surrender to Him and divine love sanctifying all that we do, that we cast off the darkness, the sadness and the fear of the past year, and of every other year, and cry out with full voice in the words of St. Paul:

Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:55-57).

It is with the same confidence and the same enthusiasm that we at Sycamore Trust, as we joyfully fulfill our mission to Notre Dame, Our Mother, trusting in the power and promises of the resurrection, proclaim:

Christ the Lord is Risen, Alleluia! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Father John Raphael, ’89 is a chaplain at Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville and Chaplain of the Nashville Guild of the Catholic Medical Association.  He considers himself extremely fortunate to be able to work side-by-side with the many courageous and heroic healthcare providers who daily commit themselves to the care not only of those currently afflicted with the COVID-19 virus, but of all others who remain in need of acute medical care and whose needs must be met in the unique circumstances of the current pandemic.

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