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Easter Message 2022

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by Father John Raphael, ’89

Christus surrexit Dominus, Alleluia!
Surrexit Dominus, vere, Alleluia!
Christ the Lord is risen, Alleluia!
The Lord is risen, indeed, Alleluia!

Though we celebrate the Easter Mystery every year, each year it has deeper meaning for us, as each year we draw closer to that moment when we will stand before the Risen Lord in all his splendor.

It seems to me, however, that there is a particular beauty and a particular depth to our Easter celebration this year. Perhaps it is because we are cautiously emerging from the unprecedented experiences of the last two years. Perhaps it is because we are actually beginning to reconnect and rebuild relationships, projects and plans. Perhaps it is because so much of the last few years has seemed like a perpetual Lent, that we are embracing Easter in a new light. Perhaps….

But even as we perceive a greater power in the beauty of resurrection life this year, all around us there is still evidence of sin, destruction and death. How do we reconcile our Easter joy with the horror in Ukraine, with ongoing strife and turmoil in the Church, with the assaults on faith and reason that constitute social and political life from every sector?

We are able to live in this tension because we know, through faith, that looks can be deceiving and that the surface often hides the substance that lies beneath. Think about Palm Sunday. The triumphant hosannas hid the malicious crucify him. Think of Peter. His bold pledge to die for Jesus hid his threefold denial of the Lord. Think of Judas. This kiss of love hid the malice of a betrayer’s heart. Think of the Cross. The wood of cruelty, injustice and pain hid the Tree of Life.

These tensions of Holy Week help us to embrace the conflict and turmoil we continue to face even after Easter! Why? Because the tomb is empty, Christ is risen from the dead,”Death has been swallowed up in victory,” and the night’s weeping has become the morning’s joy!

It is in this gloriously triumphant joy of the Risen Lord, united to the jubilant heart of the Regina Coeli, Notre Dame, Our Mother, that we at Sycamore Trust wish you a very happy, holy and joyful Easter!

Christus surrexit Dominus, Alleluia!
Surrexit Dominus, vere, Alleluia!
Christ the Lord is risen, Alleluia!
The Lord 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. Following the motto to be an ambassador of Christ and dispenser of the mysteries of God, his work was recognized by the Catholic Medical Association during its annual convention in September 2019 as the “Chaplain of the Year.” For more about Father Raphael, please see the Tennessee Register article recognizing his 25 years of ministry.

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