The truth of Easter stands year round

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Church celebrates Resurrection of Jesus

Abbot Mark A. Cooper, O.S.B. , Abbot and Chancellor

 During a few recent trips off campus, I’ve noticed a number of signs, often on church lawns, announcing “Easter 2022.” There is nothing unusual about that at this time of year. We are ready to celebrate Easter, now only a few days away, and we are in the first half of the year 2022. Moreover, Easter is the Church’s annual celebration, with great solemnity, of the Resurrection of the Lord – and, so for 2,000 years, it has been appropriate to indicate “Easter and this year,” in whatever year we are living. Yet there is another dimension to Easter.

After his suffering and death on the Cross, Jesus was placed in the tomb Joseph of Arimathea had procured for himself. All the events of the Lord’s passion and death atop Mount Calvary took place in time, as did the burial of his human body. But, on the morning of the third day, when Jesus rose up in power and glory, something quite literally out of this world occurred. It was beyond this world and its sequence of time. Jesus rose in the majesty and glory of eternal life. True, as the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles tell us, he manifested himself to Mary Magdalene, his disciples, and many others within their life-experience, but the resurrected Christ was now truly beyond time. The Risen Christ is eternal, and his power, presence, and person are open to us always! As the great Paschal Candle is inscribed at the door of the abbey church, just before the procession and the chanting of the Exultet, that magnificent song of praise at the Easter Vigil, the celebrant declares, “Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, all time belongs to him, and all the ages! To him be glory and power through every age and forever. Amen.

What a mistake we make when we limit ourselves by thinking and turning to the Lord only at Christmas and Easter! Surely, they are blessed moments in the year – but their meaning embraces every second, every minute of our lives. The infant born in Bethlehem becomes the man of sorrows crucified outside Jerusalem. The Crucified One then rises forever and his presence is eternally now! He offers to share his eternal life and everlasting happiness with each of us. It requires only that we turn to him in faith, accept his love and let it transform us. The truth of Easter shapes every Mass, prayer, teaching, and act of mercy the Church offers. Every saint is filled with the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Risen Christ. May each of us live the days of 2022, and every day of our lives, conscious and joyful of the power of Christ’s Resurrection, the source of our hope. He is truly risen! Alleluia! May Easter 2022 be a joyous occasion for you and your loved ones!