Sixth Sunday of EasterBy Bishop John Mack
Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God. --- 1 John 4:7-10
This Sunday’s second reading and the Gospel reading speak about the command to Love. If you notice the reading from 1 John reminds us that God has first loved us. He has showered His Mercy on us. He has chosen us to be the recipients of his love. In the Gospel reading we hear that we are to love one another as Jesus loves us, with a selfless love, a love willing to give His Life for us. We are called to sacrificial love. Those of you who are married know that sacrificial love is the only love that keeps a marriage together. It is the way that a marriage grows. You know that you will always care for your spouse and that your spouse will always care for you. You know that you have something in your marriage that can better be described than defined. Maybe it is better to say that you have Someone, not something. You have the sacrificial love of the Lord. You have Someone. You have the Lord.
But there are some people who profess a deep love for their spouse and who even shower him or her with expensive gifts, but whose marriage is built on a foundation of selfishness. These are the people who are concerned with what they are getting out of the marriage. Their marriage will crumble when they realize that it takes more sacrifice than they are willing to make. The most horrific example I have come upon was a young husband who deserted his wife when she entered into the last stages of cancer. She pleaded for him to come and see her in the hospital. She even had a priest call him and ask him to go with him to the hospital. He responded that he had moved on. The marriage from his side was built on selfishness.
Most of the priests that I have met over the years take their ministry extremely seriously. They know that they have to deal with stress, from the routine stress such as preparing homilies and dealing with all sorts of different personalities, to the extraordinary stress such as presiding over the funeral of a child. Most of the priests that I have met embrace their stress as their way of giving themselves to God through their people. However I have come upon a few priests who treat their ministry as a job with set hours. They act as though they are only priests during office hours and are not available when their people need them the most. There is a definite selfishness in the ways that they are viewing their vocations. Certainly, they are not loving their people as God called them to love.
Most parents put the greatest amount of their energy into leading their children to become good and decent Christian men and women. They are raising children for the Lord.
This takes sacrifice after sacrifice. Over the years, I’ve seen some of our parents come to Church in the morning a bit worse for the wear after a few battles with their kids in the early hours. I had one mother ask me to do a better job in blessing her children this week because last week’s blessing didn’t stick. I have also come upon a few parents who have decided that the work of bringing up a child takes too much effort. As their children get older and really need their parents the most, these parents are absent emotionally, psychologically or even physically.
None of us here are as extremely selfish as the examples I presented, but there are times that each of us is more concerned with ourselves than we are with those we are called upon to love. There are also those times that we haven’t loved like Jesus loves. And then the married here might reflect, “Perhaps our marriage would be stronger if I wasn’t selfish so often.” Today – on the “official” day that we honor our mothers we men might reflect on what we do the other 364 days of the year as a husband and father. Do we go beyond traditional roles (if there is even such a thing today) to make our spouse’s life a little easier to live. Are we active and attentive fathers to the needs of our children – or are we just a “bread-winner” who does no more. In today’s world it can be rightfully said that most women have two full-time jobs: the 40-hour a week job outside the home and the 40-hour a week job within the home. Reflecting on Jesus’ command of love and self-giving –I am convinced that there would be so many more children growing into warriors for the Kingdom of God if we were all more determined to guide them through adolescence and the Teen years rather than giving up on them.
And the Mercy of God is always available for us. God does not give up on us even when we have not loved as He has called us to love. God does not tire from extending his mercy to us; we are the ones who get tired of asking for His mercy.” If you need someone to emulate think about someone who has influenced your life in a positive and wonderful way. For many of us it will be our own mothers or grandmothers. Think of the Most Holy of all mothers the Blessed Virgin Mary. Think about her love for God, and for Jesus. Think about how she allowed herself to be used by God – to accomplish the salvation of mankind. There are two very similar words in the English language that describe completely opposite ways of life.
One is selfishness – I pointed out examples earlier in the sermon. The other is similar: selflessness --- Excellent examples of this are: The Blessed Virgin Mary; Mother Theresa and other saints and common folk through the course of history. There are many examples living and moving amongst us as well today.
We come before God’s mercy today and we ask him to forgive us for our selfishness and help us start anew. We can’t give up. We won’t give up. The Mercy of God wipes out our past selfishness and leads us to respond to the Lord’s command to love others as He has loved us.
The first and best lesson in love that we learned most likely came at the knee of our own mothers. May we honor them this day and every day for their great love. They are the closest thing to the love of Jesus itself that we have and can live out in our lives. And for those of you whose mothers are now with Jesus. Know that they continue to look down upon us, to care for us, pray for us, and most importantly to love us!
God’s Blessings of peace, patience, joy and love be with all mothers both living and deceased on this Mother’s Day.
The Fourth Sunday of EasterBy Bishop John Mack
The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the Sheep - John 10
In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares the good shepherd to a mere hired hand. A good shepherd cares about his sheep. The hired one cares about his salary and maybe when he gets off work. What is wrong with working for hire, and doing your job even if you do not like the sheep you are tending? I imagine that a lot of us are like this about our jobs, out of necessity. We ask, why can’t we work simply for gain? Look at it this way. Imagine that there are “handles” on things, imaginary handles. Everything I own—honors that come to me, possessions, all of these have “handles” that someone could grab in order to wrestle it away. Home, car, looks, reputation, career, money saved up for the children’s education, respect from others. pleasure, youth, you name it. We want to keep what we have. We grab the handles tight. Who can blame us? But an ominous power comes into play at that point. The forces of greed and evil tell our hearts that everything in the whole world is there just to be grabbed for myself and kept. “Greed is a virtue,” these forces say, in fact the only true virtue. The first decades of this century presented an economic crisis that seemed a perfect result of this way of thinking.
But there is an alternate way of life. It has to do with love, the kind that the good shepherd shows us. Love says, “the real value in life is to receive, not to grab and possess.” All that you have and all that you are is a gift from God. You can open your hands and let God pour into them whatever you really need. And if you keep those hands open, you can easily let what you have pass on to others, those who are in need. Two ways of life: on one side, “Grab and Keep.” On the other, “Receive and Let Go.” The hired hand says the first, the good shepherd the second. Do you understand, thus far? Good, because the story continues.
There comes an epic battle between these two ways of life. It is waged on the cross. Evil applies its weapons: it seizes and tears away from Jesus everything with “handles” on it—friends, followers, career, respect, relation to God, His clothes, the ability to breathe, and then life itseblf. It takes everything. Evil wins. Except. There is a fatal flaw in the grab-and-keep philosophy. Since this viewpoint thinks that everything whatsoever has handles on it, there is an important reality that it cannot recognize at all. Love. Love lets go, receiving humbly, giving humbly. The devil has no way to perceive love since there are no handles on unselfishness. The devil has to misinterpret what he sees, as just another form of self-interest. So he burrows down to the innermost sanctum of Jesus’ soul, greedy to seize the ultimate prize itself, the reality of God. Salivating for it, ravenous, unable to hold back, he throws open the tabernacle doors of Jesus’ soul. He finds that this sacred space is empty. Completely empty! Present are the quiet stillness of receiving gratefully and lightly letting go, but they are without handles. The devil gives up and goes on his way, confident that everything is now his. But it isn't. Love wins because it has given everything away.
I would like to close by sharing with you a real situation of care, compassion & love. It is a story of a Good Shepherd. Our parish of Sts. Martin & Rose in San Antonio TX has been shepherded by Fr. Sr. Gus Sicard since they came into the PNCC over 25 years ago. Fr. Sr. Gus has been there through baptisms, first communions, confirmations weddings and funerals. Although in his mid-70’s, Fr. Sr. Gus has the spirit of someone much younger. This past summer in August, he had a medical emergency. He was hospitalized for a long time, entered specialized re-hab for additional months but then was to be discharged just before Christmas. He wasn’t strong enough to return home. Faced with entering long-term care, one of the parishioners, whose children were already grown had two empty bedrooms in his home. He decided to take care of the “Good Shepherd” they had known and loved for so long. He offered to care for Fr. Sr. Gus in his home. Some might say that the Spanish community is known for that; caring for the elderly. Household oftentimes consist of parents and grandparents , aunts and uncles who are elderly, but that certainly cheapens this offer of care and support. Remember the words I spoke earlier? And if you keep those hands open, you can easily let what you have pass on to others, those who are in need. This is not a special chromosome – knitted into the DNA of a certain ethnic group. It is a condition of the heart that has been taught and learned across 2000 years. The condition is called “living out your Christianity.” I would venture to guess many people and some Christians are not afflicted with this condition. As the story continues – this situation did not work out for the long-term. I know that Fr. Sr. Gus felt like he was imposing on the family. After another short hospitalization and re-hab – Fr. Gus wanted to return to live in the surroundings at the church. I want to let you know – his living space is not elaborate surroundings. It’s actually in what used to be the choir loft of the church – somewhat tiny and cramped – but this is all he required. Because steps were involved – and he couldn’t climb them now – the parish instead remodeled a room near the downstairs bathrooms for his bedroom. Additionally – they have contracted with an older couple to provide him the oversight and care that he now needs. I also want to let you know that the parish is by no means affluent. I’m sure that at times, Fr. Sr. Gus spearheaded their renovation projects, special celebrations with Mariachi bands and other occasions with his personal funds. As he was so generous with them – now in turn they are doing their best to care for him. What I want you to understand is that Good Shepherd Sunday is not about only about the clergy or the ordained.
What would happen if all of us cared, really cared, about our brothers and sisters who are hungry, homeless, helpless, mistreated, victimized, suffering, unemployed, impoverished, threatened, rejected? What would happen if all of us became good shepherds and cared? Wouldn’t the consequences be monumental if everyone in the Christian community became a good shepherd?? I think that you know the correct answer!
Shall we try it with what remains of this Easter season? We aren’t doing it alone, we have the support and the help of the Original Good Shepherd --- The Risen and Victorious Son of God, Jesus Christ. What better company could we be in? Amen
Third Sunday of EasterBy Bishop John Mack
“A ghost does not have flesh and bones as I do.”
Peter claims, in the Acts of the Apostles, that the servant Jesus has been glorified. Among other things, such a claim might be referring to the testimonies, recounting about the risen Lord, that the third Gospel drew upon. While the disciples who had returned from the road to Emmaus were explaining how they recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread, Jesus suddenly appeared in their midst. Frightened, they thought they were seeing a ghost, but Jesus told them to look at his wounds and even touch him. He knew they were having trouble believing what was before them. As if to convince them that he was somehow, albeit strangely, flesh and blood, he asked for something to eat in their presence.
Our first brothers and sisters in faith experienced Christ in his body so gloriously that even his wounds were lovely invitations to faith. This, like other accounts of the risen Jesus, is amazingly wonderful. And despite the efforts of countless commentators and interpreters over the centuries to reduce these narratives to something neither quite so strange nor nearly so wonderful, one fact remains: The resurrection community that had experienced Jesus’ dying now experienced his risen presence. And it was, quite insistently, an embodied one.
This is a Jesus of sight and sound, of memories and relationships, of love and tenderness. He would take food and allow himself to be touched. Even his wounds could be examined. It was a recognizable and identifiable Jesus, a realization of his bodied existence. And yet he seemed to transcend the conditions of sheer organic materiality. He would appear out of nowhere, supposedly pass through walls and closed doors, walk on water, and reveal wounds startlingly different from the open sores of earthly trauma.
Often enough, we have come across claims that this cannot be literally true. But what if it were true? Either this is all speculation or there is some kind of bodied existence that is not the same as our sheer physical limitedness. It is a kind of existence that enters our world yet is not cramped by it. Human destiny after death appears to have fascinated every human community. In fact, some of our most ancient encounters with our forebears are through their artifacts that portray the transition of death. Earliest oral traditions, sagas, and myths speak of the journey beyond our body’s door. From very basic artwork on the walls of cave dwellers to the magnificent pyramids of Egypt where kings and queens were placed for the afterlife, mankind has always had a fascination and preoccupation with death. Philosophers, even the early Greeks, seemed preoccupied with questions of immortality.
Plato, not very friendly to the body in any case, thought that on some purely psychic or intellectual level we not only outlasted our bodies—we predated them too. After all, we are not just souls or psyches or minds. We—our identities, our selves—are living, breathing, embodied spirits, laced together with memories, sensations, commitments, gender, relationships, and intelligence.
Thomas Aquinas saw this problem in his own time, the thirteenth century. There is no way we could talk of personal immortality or our destiny if our bodies were not somehow part of the picture. If a disembodied soul survived our deaths, that might be nice, but it certainly would not be us. We are ensouled bodies. A separated soul may live on—but it would be drastically incomplete. Perhaps a good example of this would be children who were separated and given up for adoption at birth. Due to the availability of records today – and the wish to know their birth parents and families – people search and search for that lost brother, sister or mother. At first – all they have is a name or a last address. They spend hours and hours seeking that important connection. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of the tearful reunions that usually occur at an airport or in someone’s home – when they finally meet. After years of searching the name in a book, the phone number, where your sister lived and what she had done for the past 30 or 50 or 70 years all become real. The name finally becomes real because they are standing in front of you. That’s how it is with the immortal soul and resurrected bodies.
This is why Thomas Aquinas loved to dwell on the resurrection narratives. It suggested to him that we, like Jesus, would have a new bodied existence, truly related to our bodies in this world, but nonetheless freed from their organic disabilities. He writes excitedly about the kind of bodies we might have in the next life: While the immortality of the soul was a proposition Aquinas held on the evidence of reason, the immortality of the body he affirmed on faith—faith in the Resurrection. We Christians believe in glorified bodies, resurrected bodies. These days we are receiving many confirmations of such beliefs by the numerous accounts of near-death and out-of-body experiences. But our convictions go back to the testimony of our first brothers and sisters in faith, those who experienced Christ in his body, but so gloriously that even his wounds were lovely invitations to faith. You can have your hunches about robbed tombs, passover plots, mass hysteria, and other conspiracy stories.
As for me, the famous writer Dante Alighieri touches the mystery of the gospel witness as well as he does our own longing. In his book, the Paradiso, he writes of our bodies’ destiny embraced by heaven. Every promise of the body, the splendor of our organic life, shall be lustrous and strong. Nothing good of this wondrous world of sense and sentiment shall be lost. All will be gloriously preserved as Christ’s own body was: “Long as shall last the feast of Paradise, Even so long,” it said, “Our love shall lace This radiance round us for our festal guise.“And when we put completeness on afresh, All the more gracious shall our person be, Re-clothed in the holy and glorious flesh.”
Perhaps in our traditional Easter greeting – we should have an alternative response: When someone says: Christ is Risen we should reply: And one day, so shall I: in body, soul and spirit. What a beautiful promise to look forward to - Amen
SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTERBy Bishop John Mack
My Lord and My God !!
I’d like to begin with a story today – because the Easter season is truly about stories – the first of which is of course, the miracle of the Resurrection. This story takes place in the backwoods of Kentucky – way back in the mountains. Old Clem decided it was time to purchase a new saw to help clear his heavily timbered property. Now it had been quite a while since he shopped last but he had heard some neighbors exclaiming about the productivity of the “new saws.” Well the salesman showed him the latest chainsaw model and assured him that it could easily cut three or four cords of wood every day. Clem bought one and began the next day. But – he only cut 1 cord of wood. The next day he arose an hour earlier and managed to cut a little over one cord. The third day he got up even earlier but only managed a total of 1 1/2 cords of wood. Clem, in utter disbelief of the salesman claims returned the saw to the store the next day. And explained the situation. The salesman undaunted, said “Let’s see what’s the matter.” He then pulled the cord and the chainsaw sprang into action!! Clem leapt back – having been startled by the salesman and exclaimed, What the heck is that noise!
A number of years ago NBC’s Brain Williams commented that it was a rough week for Christians: On the front page of the New York Times there appeared a story that Jesus really didn’t walk on water. A scientist claims that there was a freak storm that turned the lake into ice and so Jesus walked on ice. No miracle there. Then a fish was discovered having opposite fins – indicating they were to be used for walking and so we have proof of evolution. The major news magazines likewise seem to publish like clockwork religious themes every Christmas and Easter. It is a well-worn pattern: Three quarters of the articles raise new theories that debunk traditional Christianity along with glorious artwork, boxed quotes to catch the eye, attractive layouts, and lots of coverage of new ideas, new wave jargon, and the viewpoints of self-proclaimed enlightened “modern-day” prophets. At the very end – hidden where you’ll never find it is a line that reads: Of course, some noted theologians and Scripture Scholars disagree. We are barraged by challenges to our faith and belief-system each and every day of our lives. From books like the DaVinci code a number of years ago. How about the “left-behind” series of books? Many people read these books or watch the movie and they are taken in by them. They actually half-believe what they are peddling.
And that becomes the issue – the big, big issue: Who can contest them? Sadly, very few can. Most Catholic suffer from what we might call the “Thomas Syndrome.” What’s that you ask? It’s what we find in today’s gospel. Thomas, one of the 12 was not with them when Jesus came.”
That’s it: The Thomas Syndrome means the Thomas Absence. He was absent when the risen Jesus came and so did not get to see Him or hear Him and His message. And so not knowing he had do defense against false information or false rumors about Jesus and so his faith wavered. And there we are as well. That’s us: Absent Thomases. Not seeing nor Hearing Jesus or learning about him we see and hear everyone else and have no way of knowing whether what they’re saying is true or not. Not having seen and touched Jesus and the church tradition about Him not knowing His mission and message we have no comeback. Nothing to draw on to critique what is being said. We have in short no tools to measure the absurd or ridiculous, the false from the true. No wonder what we are bombarded with today sounds so plausible.
What I am saying is that we are absent from sufficient knowledge about our faith the we have to admit we are religiously illiterate. That’s a tough word to admit to but is it true for you?
How could we possibly evaluate The DaVinci Code or TV shows or magazine and newspaper articles if we don’t know the basics about scripture the church’s teaching on various moral and ethical issues and many others. The answer is that we can’t! How can we speak intelligently about it if we are still trying to live an adult Christian life based on spotty grade-school religious knowledge? For those of you still working imagine being illiterate in our work. Imagine we’re a mechanic still using the tools and knowledge when we worked on Model T’s in 1900 and now we’re working on a highbred “cross-over” vehicle. We wouldn’t know where to begin. Imagine if we are a doctor, engineer, lawyer, teacher or tax accountant who hasn’t kept up with changes in our field. We’d be out of a job very quickly. The point is, we keep up with everything but our faith. Of course we can tell anyone who ask s about the latest Hollywood scandal, who’s moving on to another round on American Idol, which immoral hussy got a rose on The Bachelor or who are the best prospects in the off-season for the Bills. In the way of the world in entertainment, in media, in professional sports we are masters. When it comes to our faith, however, we are afflicted with Thomas Syndrome. Maybe that sounds kind of harsh, but it seems to be largely true in many cases. Hopefully you get the point.
All the stuff avalanching out of the secular media is overwhelming. It sows doubt and confusion because, Like Thomas, we were not with the disciples when Jesus came. We really don’t know who He is or What He Said or What He wants of us. We can’t evangelize because we don’t know what to say. We can’t combat anyone’s objections or excuses. We’re very similar to Clem in my opening story. Nothing in his experience prepared him for a gas-powered chain saw. Even if we had the right tool in our hands, we don’t know how to utilize it properly.
Today’s gospel about Thomas is, in its way a wake-up call. It’s time for us who are absent from knowledge about our faith to learn why we are Catholic. Why we believe what we believe and do what we do. We need to invest the time to gain sufficient knowledge to discern the true from the false to be able to refute the nonsense and affirms and explain our faith. We should subscribe to good magazines and books, join the bible study group here or elsewhere. We can prepare ourselves by going on line and reading religious articles, reflections. Papers and meditations. The Internet is a great tool for that. Today’s Gospel reminds us that the Thomas Syndrome is a timely affliction one that we can’t afford to ignore. It all boils down to priorities and your personal relationship with Jesus. We can simply ignore this Syndrome and continue to suffer from the symptoms it causes such as: weak faith, anxiety, hopelessness, disbelief, personal and relational issues, bad marriages and family life. Or we can choose fix the problem by being an active, informed, educated and vital Christian. If we invest in our faith – our knowledge and our relationship with Jesus, no matter what “dis-information” the world throws at us; no matter what doubt non-believers hurl at us, we will be able to say with conviction, “My Lord and My God!”
What a great and joyous feeling and way of life that would be for US! Don’t put it off Start today and build on it every day! And God will bless it abundantly! AMEN
Easter GreetingsBy Bishop John Mack
“In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!”
The words above are taken from a hymn entitled, “Hymn of Promise” written by Natalie Sleeth a number of year ago. It speaks, of course, of the process by which a caterpillar forms a cocoon or chrysalis and transforms itself into a beautiful butterfly that emerges from the cocoon when the time is right. The emergence of the butterfly is one of the many symbols that we associate with Easter. Other include: Easter eggs, beautiful spring flowers, pussy willows and many more. To me, the cocoon is so very significant to relate to the last twelve months of what all of us have been experiencing.
All of us have been placed into a cocoon of fear, of anxiety, of doubt and spiritual loss by forces from outside of us and forces that are beyond our control this past year. It has been absolutely bewildering, frustrating, and mind-boggling dealing with issues of employment, relationships, schooling, personal and community health just to name a few. Even as I sit at my computer, I am aware of yet another parishioner who needs sacraments of the sick and Holy Eucharist because she is failing and yet, I cannot gain access to the Nursing Facility so that I could bring her the very things, as a faithful Catholic, she needs to receive. This, because of guidelines that are said to protect the health of all and yet in reality restrict and remove the rights (especially spiritual ones) of so many. It is certainly a travesty of epic proportions. Just ask loved ones who have been denied access to husbands, wives, aging parents and grandparents, many of whom die alone and afraid. They have been shattered and had their hearts broken by the experience.
Our local ministerium is just now concluding a series of Lenten services entitled, “Places of the Passion.” One of the weeks highlighted the Garden of Gethsemane. The homilist for that week related how he felt as if he and many others around Him had gone through a year-long Garden of Gethsemane. On the fateful night in that garden Jesus prayed intensely, seeking the strength, the obedience and the power to faithfully fulfill His Father’s plan for mankind’s salvation. Jesus’s prayer was so intense that he experienced hematidrosis; drops of blood dripping from his pores. So many people have experienced intense prayer in their own lives these past few months. We have prayed for family, friends, our local communities and our faith communities. We have faithfully prayed for first responders, medical personnel and those who have lost loved ones. In our sufferings, we have shared in the sufferings of Christ.
Even though Jesus knew His fate would bring Him to Calvary the next day, He pressed on. Even as He walked to Calvary, enduring the jeers and taunts of the angry crowd He remained faithful. Even as He hung on the cross, He forgave those who persecuted Him and offered up salvation to the two criminals hanging with Him. Why? Because He trusted in the will of His Heavenly Father. He trusted God’s plan. He knew that beyond the pain, agony and degradation of Calvary, the Father would raise Him on the Third Day and He would stake His claim of victory over death. This promise was not only for Christ, but for all who live and believe in His promise of Eternal Life.
Why has most of the world been so consumed with fear over the preponderance of death this past year? Numbers and fatalities were the focus of most every newscast and plastered on every front page. Could it be that the reason is because of an absence of faith in our society? For so many there exists a lack of intrinsic belief that there is something more beyond this life. Perhaps the person’s only recognition of a “god” comes when they softly speak the phrase: “Thank God is wasn’t me this time” as they view the tragedy of life. Ultimately, it is because most of our modern world fails to see anything spiritual, but dwells only in the physical. This is certainly not to negate any of the loss that so many people have experienced in the death of loved ones this past year. Ask Jesus. He knows human death firsthand, yet He is the One, the Only One who can break for us the shackles of death. He is the Only One who can offer us eternity with the Father.
Returning to our chrysalis and emerging butterfly, the fact remains: The caterpillar’s old body dies inside the chrysalis; it literally disintegrates. What emerges is a new body with beautiful wings appearing in about two weeks. If you see a partially-opened cocoon, naturalists advise us that we mustn’t touch that cocoon; we “cannot help the butterfly emerge.” The butterfly must struggle and emerge on its own. My prayer for you my dear ones, is that you emerge this spring from your cocoon. Most certainly, it has been a struggle for all. Nonetheless, spread your newly-formed colorful wings and fly as does the beautiful butterfly. Have belief and faith in all the promises of the Father, but especially in the Easter Promise of Eternal Life. Let us not reserve our joyous Easter greeting of “Christ is Risen, He is Indeed, Risen – Alleluia” for only fifty days until Pentecost, but joyously proclaim these words to the world every day. Christ’s presence in the world will only enter in, when it is brought there by faithful followers of our Risen Lord.
I close with a few stanzas of the Hymn of Promise: most appropriate for this festive Feast Day,
“In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see. . . . In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity, in our doubt there is believing, in our life, eternity. In our death a resurrection, at the last, a victory, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see. May your Easter be Blessed with every promise of Our Risen and Victorious Lord!