Easter Sunday Letter 2015

Fr. Rodolfo D. Vásquez

“Do not be afraid!  I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.   He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.”  (Mt. 28: 5-6)

Dear Friends,   Happy Easter!
What joyous news awaited the women who went to the tomb of the Lord early that glorious Easter Sunday morning!    The Gospel tells us that the women were fearful but overjoyed and ran to tell the disciples.    Their joy spreads to us to this very day.  For this reason, Christians everywhere announce to the world with the same exuberant enthusiasm as the women, that Jesus Christ who was crucified is now raised from the dead.    Easter Sunday is the day of days, the one by which all Sundays participate.  It is the Christian Sabbath, because the Lord rose today.   This Easter is an opportunity for us to yet again recommit ourselves to our faith in Jesus Christ, to walk alongside him on the way of salvation as his faithful disciples.    Following the season of Lent, a period of conversion, penance, and growth in prayer and charity, now we are called to live our faith with vigor and enthusiasm.   
Therefore today, I invite everyone and their families to rediscover the primacy of the Lord’s Day.     Sundays are the pivotal day for the Christian because it is the weekly anniversary of Jesus’ resurrection.   I encourage all of you to make a promise to the Lord today as we remember his triumph over death, to commit to triumph over our sinfulness, our weaknesses, and our failures.    Promise the Lord to be faithful to every Sunday Mass, no more excuses, no more missing Mass because of travel or sporting events, no more arriving late or leaving early.   The Sunday Eucharist is really the source of our entire Christian way of life.   The grace we receive just by attending Mass is an amazing gift that God gives us.    
I encourage you also to let our Sundays be more than our attendance at Mass, let it be a whole day of prayer, a true day of rest.   Let us promise to consecrate the whole day, not just the hour at Mass.   Let us commit not to shop or do chores on Sunday for The Lord called us to rest on the Sabbath day, which means we ought not to work or do anything that can be done any other day.    Let Sunday become the true day off dedicated for prayer, rest and family.      
Many Catholics attend Mass on Saturday, the vigil for Sunday, but this ought to only be for those who cannot make it on Sunday because of work or for other extenuating circumstances.  For the rest of us we ought to be attending on Sundays, for Sundays is the true day of rest.    We have made it a habit to choose Saturday for our barbeques, Saturdays as our day off and Saturdays as our day for Church, but this turns the Sabbath on its head, by transferring it to Saturdays instead of its proper place, Sundays.      I would like to invite you to consider a reset of your weekend routine and make Sunday Mass the center and highlight of your week.   
Let Sunday be the day in which we rebuild and strengthen family life, let it be the day of family gatherings, of dinners and barbeques together.   I especially encourage young families or families with young children to make this day part of your family tradition by planning family picnics or other family events after Mass.    The Sabbath for the Jews was always a jubilee day, or a day of forgiveness, in that spirit, Sundays for Christians ought to be a day of forgiving one another or of asking for forgiveness, especially in family life.   Don’t let the Sunday pass without making peace and reconciling with one another.   
Sundays are to be dedicated to prayer; in addition to the Sunday Mass, families ought to spend time praying together for one another and the needs of their community, of their relatives and friends.    Maybe Sunday can be the day the family prays before a meal, or at bed time, maybe even a family rosary or visiting a local shrine.  It is a wonderful way to promote family life and grow as Christian disciples.  
Let us make a commitment together to allow this Easter Sunday to reawaken the Christian culture in our community by first orienting ourselves as God directed us, by honoring the Lord’s Day and making it holy.    Let us live out our celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection week after week by dedicating this day to his glory, and then our lives will be ordered to be what St. John Paul II described us as a true “Easter People.”  
Fr. Vásquez


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