The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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April 13, 2001 Issue
Bishop Morneau's Column
"Reflection on the Readings"

Bishop Robert Morneau
Bishop Robert Morneau

Easter is a season of joyful songs

Jesus has passed through the darkess of death into the fullness of glory

Easter


By Bishop Robert Morneau

Questions for reflection:

1. Which of the Easter prefaces speaks most deeply to you?

2. Why are joy and hope so central to the Easter feast?

3. Can Easter happen every day of the year?

The richness of the feast of Easter is evidenced in the fact that the liturgy provides us with five different prefaces. These five beautiful songs of praise that lead into the Eucharistic prayer summarize much of our theology (understanding) of the Easter mystery. Listen attentively, and prayerfully ponder these songs of the Church.

"We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life" (Easter Preface I). Easter is about death and life, about sin and grace. Jesus, in his self-giving love, has passed through the darkness of death into the fullness of his Father's glory. We are invited into that same journey.

"We praise you with greater joy than ever in this Easter season, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He has made us children of the light, rising to new and everlasting life. He has opened the gates of heaven to receive his faithful people. His death is our ransom from death; his resurrection is our rising to life" (Easter Preface II). Easter is about joy, life and light. At its deepest core, it is about love. In the paschal mystery we "see" God's extravagant love that conquers sin and death. Alleluia, indeed!

"We praise you with greater joy than ever in this Easter season, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. He is still our priest, our advocate who always pleads our cause. Christ is the victim who dies no more, the Lamb, once slain, who lives for ever" (Easter Preface III). The risen Lord continues to serve us. Thus Easter carries with it that foundational virtue of gratitude, our response to that unmerited love and mercy given to us by the slain Lamb who lives forever.

"We praise you with greater joy than ever in this Easter season, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. In him a new age had dawned, the long reign of sin is ended, a broken world has been renewed, and man is once again made whole" (Easter Preface IV). Easter counters the human tendency to become discouraged and to despair. This mystery is one of hope: a new age, sin's back is broken, wholeness is possible. All because of one reason: Jesus lives!

"We praise you with greater joy than ever in this Easter season when Christ became our paschal sacrifice. As he offered his body on the cross, his perfect sacrifice fulfilled all others. As he gave himself into your hands for our salvation, he showed himself to be the priest, the altar, and the lamb of sacrifice. The joy of the resurrection renews the whole world . . ." (Easter Preface V). The cost of Easter is high: total self-giving. Our joy is muted by the suffering of Good Friday. And yet we cry out our "holy, holy, holy" because, in Jesus, the whole world is filled with the glory of God.

Easter is a season of song. Our Easter songs carry our theology and tell us about the mysteries of our faith. Prose is inadequate for this season; we must use song and poetry.


(Bp. Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese.)



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