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Alleluia–Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen! All of us at Assumption and the Pope Francis Outreach Center wish you and your family a blessed Easter. After forty days of Lent, we now celebrate fifty days of Easter. A wonderful explanation of the season of Easter and its joyful praise comes from St. Augustine. Below is his reflection (Office of Readings, 5th Saturday of Easter) on the “Alleluia” that we happily sing at Easter.

May you know the peace of the risen Christ,

Fr Greg

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Our thoughts in this present life should turn on the praise of God, because it is in praising God that we shall rejoice forever in the life to come; and no one can be ready for the next life unless he trains himself for it now. So we praise God during our earthly life, and at the same time we make our petitions to him. Our praise is expressed with joy, our petitions with yearning. We have been promised something we do not yet possess, and because the promise was made by one who keeps his word, we trust him and are glad; but insofar as possession is delayed, we can only long and yearn for it. It is good for us to persevere in longing until we receive what was promised, and yearning is over; then praise alone will remain.

Because there are these two periods of time – the one that now is, beset with the trials and troubles of this life, and the other yet to come, a life of everlasting serenity and joy – we are given two liturgical seasons, one before Easter and the other after. The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future. What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life; what we celebrate after Easter points to something we do not yet possess. This is why we keep the first season with fasting and prayer; but now the fast is over and we devote the present season to praise. Such is the meaning of the Alleluia we sing.

Both these periods are represented and demonstrated for us in Christ our head. The Lord’s passion depicts for us our present life of trial – shows how we must suffer and be afflicted and finally die. The Lord’s resurrection and glorification show us the life that will be given to us in the future.

Now therefore, brethren, we urge you to praise God. That is what we are all telling each other when we say Alleluia. You say to your neighbor, “Praise the Lord!” and he says the same to you. We are all urging one another to praise the Lord, and all thereby doing what each of us urges the other to do. But see that your praise comes from your whole being; in other words, see that you praise God not with your lips and voices alone, but with your minds, your lives and all your actions.

We are praising God now, assembled as we are here in church; but when we go on our various ways again, it seems as if we cease to praise God. But provided we do not cease to live a good life, we shall always be praising God. You cease to praise God only when you swerve from justice and from what is pleasing to God. If you never turn aside from the good life, your tongue may be silent, but your actions will cry aloud, and God will perceive your intentions; for as our ears hear each other’s voices, so do God’s ears hear our thoughts.

He is Risen!

On behalf of all of us at Assumption, I wish you and your family a blessed Easter!

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta used to say, “don’t ever get so sad that you lose sight of the
Resurrection”. She would be preaching to the choir here because Assumption
parishioners live the joy of the Resurrection year-round. It’s not that you don’t ever get
sad, but it’s that your joy as a Christian trumps your sadness. Christian joy comes
from the Resurrection!

‘Why do you believe in the Resurrection?’ This is the first question for any Christian.
In fact, we are followers of Christ mainly because we believe that He rose from the
dead. St Paul wrote, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain” (1 Cor 15:17).

Here are three reasons to believe in the Resurrection.

Empty Tomb
This may seem to be obvious evidence to us, but it was the first indication of the
Resurrection to the disciples. How shocked must they have been to find the tomb of
Christ to be empty! And, what hope it must have given them…hope at first sight!
There is an excellent book, “Made for More”, by Curtis Martin which treats all of the
conspiracy theories regarding the empty tomb. Martin concludes that the only logical
theory about the empty tomb is the one presented in the Gospels, and believed by
Christians for 2,000 years.

Testimony of Witnesses
The word of those who were there at the tomb is very significant evidence. This isn’t
just about the spoken testimony that the tomb was empty and that they saw Christ in
His risen body. This is more about the testimony of their lives after the Resurrection.
They devoted themselves to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with many of them
dying for the cause. And, none of them ever recanted his or her testimony! The
Resurrection of Christ changed them forever, and that fact is very meaningful
evidence.

Other Christians
It’s been said that the biggest reason people become Christian is other Christians. This
makes total sense if we are showing the joy of the risen Christ…it’s a joy that the
world cannot give. If we really believe that Christ is risen from the dead, then our
lives will be evidence of the Resurrection to those around us. We will show that God
lives! We will show that Jesus is the Son of God, and that we need to follow
everything He says. We will show that He is alive and well in the Catholic Church,
especially in the Eucharist. People will see it on our faces, in our eyes, and hopefully
in our virtue. Christ lives!

May you know the peace of the risen Christ,
Fr Greg