By Rosa Gouveia
Our liturgical season of Easter is April 4 – May 23, a glorious season of 50 days to rejoice in Jesus’ Resurrection and in the new life we have in Christ!
In many of our parishes, preparations are underway for the celebration of the Sacraments of First Eucharist and Confirmation. The ongoing global pandemic has certainly challenged families, pastors, parish staffs and diocesan employees alike, yet we can all agree, it cannot quench the fire of God’s love which is unconditional, ever present and never fails. We have had to learn to be more patient, discover new ways of living and sharing our faith and truly LIVING as the Body of Christ. It has been a time of learning new ways of BEING Church for one another and together sharing the good news of Christ.
We longed to receive our spiritual nourishment and gather once again as the living Body of Christ and in the past few months, we have seen an increase of families physically returning to our Churches and gathering to celebrate Eucharist in person once again. This adds to our Easter joy as we visibly return on parish grounds, safely, one step at a time!
Indeed, there remains lingering doubt and fear for many valid reasons. There have been real experiences of personal and communal loss on many levels. We cannot deny the pain, confusion or anger which has clouded exuberant joy; our experiences are real and must be acknowledged as such. However, we must also remember, we are called to be Easter people of hope. God’s unconditional love for each of us really does make all the difference in the world. Bishop Alberto Rojas reminds us of this in his Episcopal motto “El amor de Dios nos basta…God’s love is all we need.”
As our first group of Youth were Confirmed on April 14th and others are scheduled to follow through to the fall, we are reminded of God’s powerful presence among us at all times, through the gift of the Holy Spirit who strengthens us for the journey of life. Let us call to mind what Scripture so boldly and emphatically reminds us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” With this in mind, may we live our life confidently proclaiming the Christ who strengthens us and is ALWAYS with us. Reminders of God’s presence abound, both physically and spiritually. We need to take the time to pay attention and discover God’s living presence within, among and all around us.
During the month of May, the Church celebrates the gift of Mary, our Mother who is with us through the reality of our daily life. She accompanies, advocates, and assists us as she did for her Son Jesus and the Apostles. As we are called to live the story of our faith and share the Good News of the living Christ, let us do so confidently, joyfully and compassionately, knowing our Mother walks beside us and Jesus, our brother, leads the way to God, who loves us and always will. Live your life knowing you are unconditionally loved by God and no one can take this gift from you, nor will it ever fade…it’s yet another reason to be joyful!
Rosa Gouveia is the Director of the Diocesan Office of Catechetical Ministry.