Happy Easter, may the peace and glory of the Easter message be with you!
My sincere thanks to the many parishioners and staff members who helped make our Holy Week and Easter services exuberant, awesome, triumphant, inexpressibly happy and filled with redemptive hope. Your contributions of time and talent helped make our celebrations true faith experiences.
I also extend my thanks to those who expressed sincere appreciation for my Easter homily. I assure you it came from the inner depths of my heart. It is reassuring that you went away feeling good about what I said – thoughts and ideas which came to me through the power of the Spirit. We all have the power to put flesh on the Easter message of resurrection and new hope. Please take advantage of the power given to us as believers in the resurrected Jesus.
One particular part of my homily generated many responses and reactions: “Having said all this about Easter and Easter people because I truly believe we are an Easter people – I do have to wonder why there is such a dramatic increase in attendance at Easter Mass. I wonder why people do not feel welcome at other times during the year or why they stay away. Do people believe they are not welcome because of a divorce, or because of their sexual orientation, or because of the sexual abuse scandal in our Church, or maybe, because they were upset by the action of some person in ministry? From another point of view, if we believe statistics, about 15% of us could stay away because the Mass is not prayed in Latin, another. 72% may stay away because they believe the Church should allow priests to be married and we should welcome back those priests who left to get married. Another 55% could stay away because of the Church’s position on women’s ordination. We can and do stay away for these and a thousand other reasons. 40 years ago, I stayed away because of the lack of the Church’s ability to take a position on the Viet Nam War.
Yet, for some mysterious reason, our faith remains strong enough to bring all of us here on Easter. Please hear me loudly and clearly – be assured that you are always welcome at the Church of the Transfiguration and that my heart, my ear and my office door are always open to you if you need to talk through some concern about your faith or your relationship with the Church. And when I say this, I can safely say I am speaking for the rest of the staff too.”
I am not sure what the cure is for all the ills of our Church, but what I do know is personally I keep plugging along try to live my faith. I do so by staying true to the Eucharist and praying that, as Church, we work together to resolve some of our ills. Obviously, this means all of us need to work together, both our leadership and you, the people of God.
In closing, another of the Great Truths That Little Children Have Learned: “Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.”
Happy Easter and let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,
PS – I had hoped to write some reflections about my 40th Anniversary celebration for this Bulletin, but because of an early deadline, I could not, but I will for next week’s Bulletin.