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The great feast of Easter, the source of light

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, entered the world “full of grace and truth,” born to reveal the Father’s love for the world, yet born to suffer, to be crucified, to die and to be buried, and then to rise conquering sin and death.

This week, we enter the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection as we celebrate the sacred triduum. In the Mass and in Scripture and in the Church, the events of 2,000 years ago become present to us. The triduum is ancient and yet present to us now.

More than 2,000 years ago, God became man, entering into the fabric of time as a small and vulnerable child. In the love God and in the family of Mary and Joseph he grew to be a man. He gathered a Church to himself and he preached the kingdom of God.

By signs and wonders we knew he had come as the suffering servant, fulfilling the promises in the book of Isaiah.

We begin the sacred triduum by remembering the Church that Christ gathered. On Holy Thursday, in the breaking of bread and the washing of feet, we remember that Christ came to serve us.  We remember that he called us to serve one another.

On Good Friday, we remember that he suffered in our place. We also remember that the Son of God was led like a sheep to be slaughtered. He bore our sin: “He was pierced for our sinfulness and he was crushed for our transgressions.”

By violence and cowardice and betrayal, the Prince of Peace died on a cross for our sins.

On Good Friday, we remember that he called us to suffer for one another—to love one another to the point of death.

But the sacred triduum does not end with death. Jesus Christ died in order to set us free from death. All of us will die an earthly death. In his death, Jesus Christ became like us in mortality.

The sacred triduum ends with Resurrection. Christ died, and then he rose again. Because Jesus died, as we will, death is redeemed. Because he died, we can be resurrected. We can be set free of our sins and set free from death to live eternal life. In death “life is changed, not ended.”

It’s easy to forget how radical the mystery of the triduum really is. It is easy to go through the motions. This year, I pray that you will not take Easter for granted. I pray that you and your family will enter into the mystery of Christ’s death, and of our resurrection.

Lectio divina is the practice of prayerful reading of the sacred Scripture. It is a way to encounter Jesus Christ and to live the mysteries of his life. This Easter, I will enter into the triduum through the liturgies of the week and through lectio divina. I pray that your family will join me.

On Holy Thursday, begin with Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 22. Sit with your family in a quiet place.  Read the chapter aloud. Read it slowly. Ask the Lord to be present to you. Ask him to show you himself.  Sit silently with the Scripture. Place yourself in the Scripture using your imagination. Listen to the Lord as he speaks to your heart. Share the Lord with one another.

The next day, Good Friday, read the 23rd Chapter of Luke.  Ask God to be present to you.  Allow yourself to be present as Christ is crucified for our sins.

On Easter, take some time together. Read the 24th Chapter of Luke. Rejoice with one another in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rejoice that Christ is “truly raised!”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Easter is a “source of light,” which fills us “with its brilliance.” Easter is the “feast of feasts” and “solemnity of solemnities.”

Easter is the mystery that gives meaning to our Christian lives.

This year, I pray that Easter will be a source of light for you. I pray you will enter its mysteries. I pray that Christ, our risen savior and brother, will fill you with his brilliance and with his joy and peace that no one can take from you!

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
The Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila is the eighth bishop of Denver and its fifth archbishop. His episcopal motto is, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5).
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