Blog & Pastor Letters

Easter Sunday

04-09-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Christopher O'Connor 

Alleluia, the Lord is risen! Alleluia, indeed he is truly risen! The darkness and sadness of Good Friday gives way to the glory of Easter for our Lord Jesus Christ is truly victorious, he has conquered the power of death and open the gates of heaven for us. The liturgy helps us to raise our voices and cry out “Alleluia” after not singing it for forty days. This a time of rejoicing as our churches our decorated with Easter lilies and other beautiful flowers, a new Paschal candle is lit, like a pillar of fire to show us that our Lord is with us. Let us rejoice in the glory of Easter and cast behind us the darkness of the world.

Do you see the power of the resurrection in your life or the world? Can you think of an occurrence in the world that gives you a glimpse of the resurrection of Jesus? We can see the power of resurrection in the life and death of Father Aloysius Schwartz, who died thirty-one years ago last month. Father Al lived a life of imitation of Jesus by surrendering all for the glory of the Lord. His priestly ministry brought him to South Korea, the Philippines and, before his death, Mexico. He founded what is called Girlstown and Boystown villages where orphans, abandoned children and children from poor families can have a place to learn, grow in dignity, and learn a trade to live in the world. More than 170,000 children have graduated from these schools, who are gainfully employed or have established businesses themselves. The Sisters of Mary, a religious community founded by Father Al to serve the children, now numbers over 370 sisters.

— Br. John-Marmion VillaSince Father Al’s death in 1992, new villages have opened in Guatemala, Brazil, Honduras, and now Tanzania. Father Al’s love for the poorest of the poor, for those forgotten or cast aside, continues beyond his death. Thousands of people continue to support the vision of Father Al by sponsoring the sisters of World Villages to allow them to serve the children in need. At the heart of each village is the chapel where the children come to know the Resurrected Christ who lives in each tabernacle. These children too experience resurrection in their lives, often coming from dark and traumatic places and experience the power of love and forgiveness at these villages. Father Al’s work did not die with his death; it continues to grow and flourish as a sign of the resurrection.

When Jesus died and rose, his work did not end. He commissioned the apostles to go forth and preach to all nations. When the apostles died, that work did not end either, it continued by those called by the apostles to continue the Gospel message. For two millennia, the Gospel continues to be proclaimed and lived, because Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead. Kings and rulers, dictators and tyrants have tried to stamp out the Gospel message and yet it is still proclaimed. The Church suffers in many parts of the world and the power of the resurrection continues.

We are called to be witnesses of the resurrection just as St. Mary Magdalene was on the original Easter Sunday. She rejoiced in the risen Lord and went to share the Good News. She was someone who also suffered in a dark and traumatic place but the Lord healed her and then the power of the resurrection transformed her. As we proclaim the risen Lord, let us allow the power of the resurrection to transform our lives as it did with Mary Magdalene and Father Al Schwartz. The Lord is risen; indeed, he is truly risen! Alleluia!