|The Pascal Candle is lit from the new and blessed fire at Holy Family Hicksville|
|Kelli O'Hara quick changes at the 2015 Tony Awards|
screenshot via Tony Awards Backstage Youtube
My friend Fran is a professional costumer and dresser for Broadway actors. One of her most important tasks is to assist the actor with quick costume changes. Not too long ago she was working with the actress who played Anna in the musical the King and I. If you recall the show, you know that Anna is always dressed in very, very large hoop skirts, in watching the show, you are too busy watching the actors on stage to think about how Anna gets in an out of those skirts so quickly. But during a performance at the Tony awards that year, the online audience got to see how it all occurs a camera with backstage capturing Fran, much to her chagrin, and her team changing the actress out of one skirt and top and into another in less than 40 seconds. The attention of those watching on TV or in the theatre only saw what happened on stage and were unaware of what was happening behind the scenes; all they saw was the amazing result.
Specifically, St. Paul asks, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Is this part of your awareness? I know that this truth is not foremost on my mind. Yet this truth is the foundation for our hope. Because of our baptism we are united to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of our baptism we have profound hope that the worst thing that can happen to us, death is not the last word. We do not just observe the drama of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by baptism we experience it. St. Paul concludes that “raised from the dead, (Christ) dies no more; death no longer has power over him.” So too must we be aware that death has no power over us.
The era in which we live easily distracts us. Our political atmosphere is horrible. The moral struggles presented to our children are overwhelming. Financial realities, racial tensions, and an ever-present media are what grabs our attention and therefore, the cosmic and spiritual realities of the Resurrection recede to the background. We function as if we have no awareness of the God who both created and redeemed the world.
As we listened to St. Matthews gospel proclaimed we are treated to some dramatic imagery.
· And behold, there was a great earthquake;
· for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
· rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
· His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow.
· The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men.
The Angel of the Lord Announcing the Resurrection
Benjamin West 1805 Brooklyn Museum
These are events so dramatic in detail that they are meant to engage us and awaken us to not a happy ending of what was thought to be a tragedy but to empower our faith life. Furthermore, with their encounter with the risen Jesus himself, the women experience a transformation and a commissioning.
In repeating and enhancing the message of the angel the risen Lord, Jesus commissions the women to be the first missionaries of the Resurrection. He also gives them a specific task. He tells them to inform his brothers that he will meet them in Galilee. Why is this important. The angel tells the women to give this message to Jesus’ disciples, Jesus calls them his brothers. The change is important. These disciples are the ones who betrayed, denied and abandoned him. Hearing that he had been raised from the dead might rightly strike a fear of vengeance in their hearts. He calls them brothers and in so doing extends reconciliation. He does not abandon them but raises them from disciples to the dignity of brothers. The women, therefore become the first agents of resurrection reconciliation.
|Bishop of Rockville Centre, John Barres baptizes a woman |
during the Easter Vigil at St. Agnes Cathedral.
Photo Credit: Ed Casey
|Easter Sanctuary Holy Family Hicksville|