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Parish Daily Update 4/3/21

Dear Parish Family,

“The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.”    ~Eph. 4:10

ALL EASTER VIGIL AND EASTER SUNDAY MASSES ARE FILLED TO CAPACITY!!  There will be no room for “walk-ins”.  If you were unable to make reservations, the 8:00 Mass on Easter Sunday will be recorded and posted to email and to our Facebook page “St. Joseph – Gluckstadt” around noon on Sunday.  You can join us from home – your “domestic church” – for the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection!!

Last year, our churches were closed down during Holy Week and Easter due to Covid.  We are so very grateful to be together and able to celebrate these most holy days of the year this year. 

The Parish Office will be closed Easter Monday.

Happy Easter and God bless,

Pam

Easter Sunday The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Day  
 

First Reading:  Acts 10:34, 37-43

Peter proceeded to speak and said: “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”   

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23   

R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.”
R.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

  

Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 5:6-8   

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough? Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, 
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.   

Sequence   

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
Bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia. Alleluia   

Gospel:  John 20:1-9   

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So, she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So, Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.   

Homily

“[Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome] were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.”  Mark 16:1-7 Easter Vigil

“Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.”  John 20:1-9 Easter Sunday 

                A key figure in the gospel is the unnamed disciple who is described as the one whom Jesus loved.  He can teach us much about faith.  All three characters – Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the disciple – heard Jesus promise his resurrection.  Yet Mary sees the empty tomb and panics and fears someone has stolen the body.  Peter, who often acts first and reflects later, runs to the tomb and observes the empty wrappings with confusion. But the beloved disciple who does not rush into the tomb but bends down to peer inside – in his silence he sees and believes.       Our God gives the gift of faith freely; it is put before each of us.  Sometimes we are busy with our actions like Peter, or filled with worry as Mary was in the darkness.  The darkness, anxiety, and clutter of activity can blind us to faith.  We need to be more like the beloved disciple who truly sees and believes.  At times we need to be more silent and observe what God puts before us.  The resurrection is both a salvific and personal experience.  It is up to us to see the risings that follow the dying.  

                Ultimately Easter offers us the possibility of reversibility in a world of irreversibility.  Our lives are filled with events that we would like to reverse.  Things like fights with bullies, broken arms, foolish comments in class, unexpected pop quizzes, the inevitable first automobile accident, and the death of a dear friend.  But Easter actually offers the awesome promise of reversibility.  Nothing – no act of childhood cruelty, no experience of shame or remorse, and no, not even death – is final. 

There are no innocent bystanders in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Either we are with Christ or we are against him.  We either follow his example or go our own way.  Our Easter joy is not a covering-up of the unpleasantness of the reality of Good Friday.  The light of this morning shines through the cross.  Our gladness today is a deep gratitude of life completed with a sigh of relief.   Paul tells us we have died in Christ.  As the sequence puts it “death and life have contended in battle.”  Things were hanging in the balance.  While the Easter mystery does not deny the reality of suffering and pain, it does proclaim reason for hope in the human condition.  The empty tomb trumpets the ultimate Alleluia — that love, compassion and generosity, humility and selflessness, will ultimately triumph over hatred, bigotry, prejudice, despair, greed and even death. 

This Easter we are called to leave the wrappings that prevent us from experiencing the miracle of resurrection behind in the tomb. 

We sometimes find ourselves struck in a Good Friday world: our problems batter us, overwhelm us, strain our ability to cope and make it all work.   Our Alleluias are tempered by reality; we approach this Easter Day with “Christ is risen, BUT . . . ” But in raising his Son from the dead, God vindicates the Gospel of his Christ: that good conquers evil, that love turns hatred, that light shatters the darkness. Our lives are filled with experiences of resurrection, when the despair and desperation of our Good Fridays are transformed into Easter hope by the compassion and mercy of those who have embraced the good news of Easter morning’s empty tomb. 

Every morning you wake up and, by God, you’re still alive, you have another chance to start over. Perhaps when you put your head down on your pillow the night before, you still carried in your body and soul the burdens of the day just completed: things left undone, bad things said, good things left unsaid, and lots of things left in abeyance.   In the morning all is possibility, all is opportunity, all is good and all is God. 

Starting over. Beginning again. 

Ours is a religion about dawn. Creation begins in the morning. The women come to the tomb in the morning. The morning is when it happens. Lose the morning and you have lost the day. Jesus’ resurrection is the new day, the fresh pages of the calendar book, the new moment on the horizon. Whatever was yesterday is passed and done. 

Starting over. Beginning again. 

On Friday Jesus’ closest friends had let the relentless crush of history snuff out all their dreams.  Two days later when the crazy rumors about Jesus’ missing body shot through Jerusalem they couldn’t dare to believe.  They were too conditioned to the irreversible.  Only the personal appearances by Jesus convinced them that something absolutely new had broken out on the earth.  When that sank in, those same men who had slunk away in fear at Calvary were soon preaching in the streets of Jerusalem.  Easter hits a new note, a note of hope and faith that what God did once in a graveyard in Jerusalem, he can and will repeat, on a grand scale, for the world.  For us, against all odds, the irreversible can be reversed. 

We are here today because of our belief in the life, the new life, which is the Father’s gift to Jesus, and which the risen Lord shares with us through Baptism. We stand at the entrance of the empty tomb.  We can wonder what this means or we can believe what has been told us, that he has been raised.  Like the fearful women in the Gospel, the message of Good News has been entrusted to people like us – fallible, fearful, only beginning to understand what our faith means.  We can run away afraid or we can go and tell others that he has been raised and is among us.   The Jesus who challenged us to love one another is Risen and walks among us. 

We dream of a solution to the problems challenging society — but living in hope compels us to volunteer, to study the issues, to actually be part of the solution. We imagine a more unified, less divisive world — but living in hope is to act with kindness and understanding, to be the means of reconciliation and peace within our own families, communities and churches. We wish to be spared the virus — but living in hope is to understand the need to wear a face mask, keep our distance, offer our help to the sick and suffering, trusting that our sacrifice will bring health and healing. Yes, we can wish and dream and imagine — and remain stuck in our Good Friday crypts. So, this Easter, let’s begin to dare to live in hope: hope that frees us from our graves of fear and anxiety, that pulls us out of our graves of denial and cynicism. Let’s live our lives in the hope of God’s grace: that, in the Christ who “goes before” us, we can transform our Galilees into the Kingdom of God’s justice and mercy.    

An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.  Amen.  

Extra 

Resurrection is not just an Easter phenomenon.    

Every life is a series of crosses and stumbles, of trials and condemnations, of hope and despair, of deaths and resurrections. Many are a matter of simply growing up — but some are traumatic encounters with illness or violence or loss. 

The book “Under Our Roof: A Son’s Battle for Recovery, a Mother’s Battle for Her Son,”(Madeleine Dean, Feb. 16, 2021)is one family’s story of dealing with their son’s opioid addiction. The son, Harry Cunnane, and his mom, U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, take turns narrating their story. 

Madeleine knew Harry was struggling as far back as high school but didn’t know the cause. She noticed Harry’s lack of energy, his loss of friendships — and the drastic change in his personality. Meanwhile, Harry struggled with the fear and shame that surrounds addiction. Finally, it all came crashing down and the truth came out. And so began their family’s ten-year journey from Good Friday addiction to Easter sobriety. 

Many families will recognize their own experience in Madeleine’s and Harry’s story, especially the roller coaster of emotions: hope and denial, sentimentality and exasperation, anger and fear, manipulation and empathy. Though some scenes are hard to read, “Under Our Roof” is compelling and, in the end, uplifting. Mother and son discuss the patterns of a family dealing with an unspoken disease, the fear that keeps addicts hiding in shame, and the moments of honesty, faith, and personal insight that led to Harry’s recovery. 

Madeleine recalls Harry’s first days in rehab. At a family meeting at the rehab facility, they were asked to write down on a whiteboard their fears for Harry. Harry’s parents and brothers wrote their list: relapse, arrests, stealing, flunking out of school, fighting, never having a job. Madeleine then wrote one last word on the top of the list: death. 

“That was the truth,” Madeleine writes. “Deep down, I was afraid that Harry was going to die. I cannot tell you how hard it was to write that word . . . As hard as this was for all of us, it was powerful knowing that we were in it together. We started as a family spinning outward with differing perspectives. Now, here we were, through Harry, being pulled back together. For the first time, we were seeing clearly, understanding the truth.” 

Now sober, Harry serves as a resource director for the same treatment center where he originally sought help for his own addiction. He also volunteers at jails and rehab centers in Philadelphia to help others. He writes of the moment he realized he was going to make it: 

“A miracle was keeping me clean. A miracle had brought my mom and me back together. A miracle of my own making — aided by the grace of my family, my friends, my treatment, and my faith that something better had been waiting for me on the other side.” 

Easter begins in the darkness of night, in the seeming finality of earth, in the hopelessness of ashes — but Easter is the stubborn hope of a God who re-creates us and our world until his dream of a humanity bound in his love is realized. In his rising from the dead, Christ enables us to bring into our own lives all that he taught and revealed. Easter is the conviction that love, compassion, empathy and generosity can and will overcome hatred, despair, greed, death — and, as Harry and Madeleine and her family discover, even their brutal battle with addiction can result in Easter’s miracle. The empty tomb of Easter is the sign of perfect hope that in Christ all things are possible, that we can make of our lives what we want them to be, that we can become the people God created us to be for one another. May we live not in fear of the darkness of Good Friday, but move into the light of Easter hope in the Risen One who lives forever in our midst.