REFLECTION – Easter Sunday
April 15-16, 2017
One Sunday morning in late February of this year my son and I sat in a pew in a small Catholic church in Harlem. I was visiting Conor in New York City for the weekend and had discovered the parish just one block from his apartment. The little church was tucked into the middle of a neighborhood.
Inside, the architecture was clearly from a different time and for different people. It was a mixture of ornate statues and stained glass windows with contemporary tapestry and music. A predominantly African-American community, the congregation also consisted of Latino families, elderly whites and young adults.
It was not a wealthy parish by any means, but it was rich in the Holy Spirit. From the moment we entered its door until long after we had left, the feeling of fellowship lingered within us. These people live hard but faith filled lives. Jesus was not someone they visited on Sundays, but rather their constant companion.
The mass was not perfect except in its jubilant celebration of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. There came a moment that transcended the average church experience as we began singing the “Our Father.” Everyone joined hands; from the priest to the altar servers, to the lector, to the choir members, to the people. Hands extended from pew to pew and across aisles, until everyone in the church was linked in a profession of unity and faith. Age, race, economic or social status did not matter. At that moment all that mattered was that we were all Children of God, unconditionally loved by Jesus.
And there was joy! Uncontainable joy that swelled up in your heart and made you want to shout from a mountain top. Filled with that joy we received Jesus Christ in body and blood to nourish our soul. My son and I left church that day almost speechless with the wonder and awe of God.
That is Easter Joy!
It is the understanding that The Risen Christ lives in all of us; making us all brothers and sisters. It is now up to each of us to spread the Good news. We do that with words of mercy and compassion, with actions of hospitality and acceptance, with lives of love and joy. We stand hand in hand, reaching beyond any man made boundaries and distinctions and sing in one voice, “Alleluia!”
~ Patrick J. Perkins