Sunday May 19, 2019
4:44 pm
Bishop Hying

Through the Paschal Mystery, we embrace, in faith, movement from death to life

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

      Life is very challenging most of the time.

      Disappointments and setbacks, tragedies and accidents, sickness and death can overwhelm us at unexpected moments, adding a deeper layer of difficulty to the daily struggle to live our faith, fulfill our commitments, do our work well and raise our families with love and values. We can become very frustrated with God, other people and ourselves, wondering what is the point of all this complexity.

      When I feel the heaviness of the human burden, the Paschal Mystery lifts me up! Refusing to simply give pat answers to our deepest questions about the meaning of life and death, the mystery of suffering and evil, God enters our complicated, beautiful, difficult and joyous existence, even to the point of experiencing rejection, hatred, cruelty and death.

      When we are tempted to raise a fist to the heavens and ask God “WHY?,” the cross of Jesus Christ looms on the horizon of the heart in all of its pathos, horror, mercy and triumph. God suffers with us, both in the little hurts and the overwhelming heartbreaks, breaking open a path for us with the power of the cross that leads to the resurrection.

      As Jesus tells it to the disciples on the road to Emmaus on Easter morning, his horrible crucifixion and our own inexplicable sufferings only make sense through the prism of the empty tomb, through the light, love and life that flow from an encounter with the risen Christ. 

      Can what was dead truly live again? Can what was broken on the cross of the world’s pain ever be restored and healed? Perhaps, only when we come to the end of our life’s journey and sit down with the Lord to break bread, will it all make sense. We will look back at the amazing trajectory of our human path and see clearly for the first time that the hardest moments, the most difficult experiences, the stuff that broke our hearts wide open were actually gifts somehow that led us to faith, trust, compassion and humility.

      Easter opens our eyes to the pulsating life of the risen Christ which permeates the cosmos and fills our spirits with insight, grace, peace and love. We see the Paschal Mystery, the movement from death to life in the seasons of nature, in the rhythms of our lives, in our Lenten practice, in the faith that we embrace. 

      My prayer for you is that this Easter season be a time of renewal and joy, that you will encounter the risen Christ in fresh and exciting ways, that the winter of death and sin will give way to a spring time of the heart. We started this Lenten journey, marked with ashes; we end it, gathered around the new Easter fire, crackling in the dark. 

      Ashes to fire—doesn’t that explain everything?

Yours in the Risen Christ,

 

+ Donald J. Hying

 

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