JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD, ALLELUIA!
At Easter, we celebrate the victory of life over death, love over fear, hope over despair, faith over doubt, truth over falsehood, generosity over selfishness. It is a victory in which we share. We are ‘an Easter people,’ and we make the words of the Preface of Easter, prayed at Mass, our own:
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
at all times to acclaim you, O Lord,
but on this day above all to laud you yet more gloriously,
when Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.
For he is the true Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world;
by dying he has destroyed our death,
and by rising, restored our life.
Therefore, overcome with paschal joy, every land, every people exults in your praise
and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts, sing together the unending hymn of your glory, as they acclaim:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
It is carnival time in Jerusalem; a time of revelers and of motley bands of party goers.
But two figures stand out: Mary and John. With them, we follow our broken God. From the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the desolation of Calvary, we all abandon him--except the two beloved people. It is here and now that He gives them to each other, and community is re-established after the kiss of Judas had blown it away.
The Church is born on the cross, seen and signified by the water and blood flowing from His side, foreshadowing Baptism the Eucharist. Everything happens quickly, yet even in the dereliction of the Cross, with arms outstretched, He gathers us all into the brilliance of Holy Saturday when all seems lost. All is about to begin.
In today’s Gospel, we hear again the immortal words of Jesus in relation to the woman caught in adultery: ‘Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.’
Even though we are sinners ourselves, we may have cast the stone of judgment at others. As we call to mind our sins, we might remember especially the harsh and unfair judgments we sometimes pass on others.
The quality of mercy is not strain’d;
it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
upon the place beneath.
It is twice blest:
it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mighty;
it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown.
It is enshrined in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute of God himself.
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
when mercy seasons justice.
Therefore, though justice be thy plea, consider this--
that in the course of justice none of us should seek salvation.
We do pray for mercy,
and the same prayer doth teach us all
to render the deeds of mercy.