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Easter Sunday: He Is Risen! Mar 29, 2024

Easter Sunday
Fr Josh Easter message 2023
Fr Josh Easter message 2023

He Is Risen!

As a child, I did not like going to Mass; it was something to be endured as we – my siblings and I – sat in the front row of the church, trying to behave. On the way to Mass in the car, we’d be narky with each other, poking and prodding until, perhaps prematurely exasperated, Mum or Dad would turn around and sternly rebuke our bad behaviour. Needless to say, I found ways to endure the hour-long torture of sitting still. Curiously, I always needed to go to the toilet at least once every Sunday during Mass. My favourite part of Mass was the recessional hymn; not because of its obvious place as the last part of Mass, but because it was normally upbeat, and offered a chance to lean over to my little sister, Gemma, and make her laugh by verbally exaggerating the music or the pronunciation of the lyrics. We’d try to supress our giggles as we enjoyed what we thought to be our own self-made oasis of fun. Little did I know, or even appreciate at the time, that we were experiencing joy – the same joy which is offered by Jesus’ resurrected presence in our midst!

He is risen… not, He has risen – as if the resurrection was just something that happened 2000 years ago. Jesus is risen because he is present in our midst as some-one to be encountered; some-one – a person – to be known, loved, and experienced.

Think about the person or people that you love most dearly in the world – they may be sitting right next to you as you read this. How do you experience their love and the joy of their presence? You like spending time with them; you’re curious about them and seek to listen to them, to learn from them, and to know them in a deeper way; you feel filled by the gift of their presence in your life. How much more perfect, therefore, must be the gift of Jesus’ presence, love and desire for you. Friends, to experience joy is to experience the gift of Jesus’ risen presence in our lives.

The joy of this day, the greatest and noblest of all celebrations, overflows in the love and faith born of a deeply personal encounter with the risen Jesus. The joy of this day overflows into the next 50 days because Easter cannot be contained into one day or even eight days. And so I make an invitation to you – yes, you reading this reflection: seek to experience and celebrate Jesus’ risen presence in your life. If this is something that seems outside your faith practice, seek to notice the different thoughts or feelings that are given and let them be causes of joy in your heart. This is often how God speaks to our hearts.

Finally, I am always conscious that when we celebrate Easter (and Christmas), the regular worshipping community is joined by a multitude of visitors. May I be the first one to extend an unconditional welcome to you – whether you’ve travelled up or down the Bruce Highway, have flown in for Easter, or are a local; perhaps even a neighbour. It’s we – the regular worshipping community – who are enriched by the gift of your presence and so we say “Thank you.” I wish each and every person in this parish a blessed Easter filled with the gift of joy.

Peace and Easter blessings, Fr Josh




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