An Easter Message From Fr. Paul
April 11, 2020
The Lord is Risen! Alleluia! The Lord is Risen, indeed! Alleluia!
My dear friends at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church,
Every year at Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, with the entire Universal Church, our parish family sings these words of great joy, expressing the unchanging spiritual truth that our Blessed Lord Jesus has conquered death and sin for us! Today, and perhaps in this up-coming season of Easter 2020, with a few members of our family, or by ourselves being confined at home, we may yet sing this truth with a very heavy heart—knowing that there have been still many people in the world who lost their lives to the COVID-19, many who are suffering, and also many more who are making sacrifices and serving others in need or in despair. If we are sensitive to our fellow human beings in those situations — or to our own situations – honestly, we may not bring ourselves to singing any joyful songs of Easter at the moment!!! Nonetheless, I invite you to join with me in turning to God and his Eternal Word, at least, seeking light, peace, and consolation for us and for the world. Allow me to share a few humble thoughts with you as we gaze upon the face of the Risen Lord with great hope and prayers.
Our Risen Lord is the God of love and compassion. Although we never hear Jesus say in the Gospel that he is “A God of perpetual good health,” nor “A God of prosperous and stable economy,” but He wants us to know that He is and will always be the God of love and compassion. After the Resurrection, Jesus makes Himself present to His Apostles, His disciples, and many other people, to show that He is truly the God of Life and Love. He looked lovingly at them and, He is looking lovingly at us now, in the Eucharist and in our prayers, always wanting to forgive and forget our sins or offenses against him. He doesn’t want to mention it to the disciples, nor to us, and never want to recount them, but invite us to taste the true love and friendship that only He can give. He does not focus on our sins or weaknesses, rather, on LOVE, by asking Peter, the head of the Church, repeatedly, “Do you love me?” “Do you love me?” “Do you love me?” That’s all that matters to Him, because He is madly in love with us and wants us to respond. Let the fire of Christ’s love burn in our hearts like those who abandoned the road to Emmaus.
Our Risen Lord is the God of peace and strength. Many times he appeared to the disciples and said, “Peace be with you!” He wants to breath His life into us, as if we needed “spiritual CPR!” And many times throughout the Bible he said, “Do not be afraid!” And St. Paul acknowledged a paradoxical truth that we may want to embrace, if we have Christ. “When I am weak, then I am strong.” In our bodily weakness and vulnerability, our faith is being tested like gold in fire. “I live, but not I; rather it is Christ who lives in me.” He wants to witness to the fact that if God is with us, then nothing shall defeat us. We cannot QUARANTINE OUR SOULS; we cannot let fear conquer or paralyze our life. Even when the body is weak, our spirit will continue to be strengthened by the Lord himself, if we open our hearts to Him. Let the inner peace and strength of Christ touch our realities now.
Our Risen Lord is the God of hope and new life. “Behold, I am with you always.” This phrase has become another name of God for us – “Emmanuel” is not just for Christmas only, but always and everywhere. “When two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst.” We wish to be protected by the mantle of hope at Pentecost; And our blessed Mother Mary is always there to comfort us with her motherly love – like a hen protecting her chicks. Yet we are called to never walk alone – even in physical isolation, we can stay connected to the Body of Christ through our family members and friends via phone, media, facebook, facetime, etc. Please tune in for our Livestream Masses: seasirvine.org
We pray for a New Passover, a New Exodus, a New Freedom in the spirit. “Go tell my brothers…” “Go and make disciples of all nations…” We have a mission still; we cannot sit around; we come back to the spiritual Jerusalem; we form the table fellowship and live the reality of our faith; and even when we are weak, the Lord continues to commission us, to be witnesses of his love and compassion, peace and strength, hope and new life in Him.
May our Loving God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth, the Patroness of the Quarantined, touch and heal us and the whole world, and strengthen our body, mind and spirit…
Happy Easter 2020 to you and yours!!!
Peace, Love and Blessings of the Risen Christ be with you always!!!
Fr. Paul Trinh