Dear People of Saint Anne,
I wish you all a very happy Easter feast and a festive welcome to Saint Anne Catholic Community.
Saint Paul, in his letter to the Colossians that we hear proclaimed at this Easter liturgy, centers on our baptism. A few verses before today’s passage, Paul says: When you were buried with Christ in baptism, you were also raised with him.
Now, that symbolism of being buried with Christ at baptism is not new to us. By going down into the water, we die to one way of living. Here at Saint Anne, when the new church was built some twenty years ago, those who designed the church decided to go back to the traditional form of a baptismal font – a pool of immersion – and it expresses more fully that we are buried with Christ in baptism.
That being said, we were also raised with him. Now, think about that. When Jesus died, God brought him to new life – a transformed, risen, human life. And God brought us to life along with him. We have received this same new life.
The resurrection that we celebrate today isn’t an event that simply happened to Christ. The resurrection isn’t simply something we look forward to when we die. Paul is telling us that the resurrection affects us right now. We have been unfolded into the life of the risen Christ … now.
That is what happened at our baptism. We simply didn’t go into the water to express our intent to die to one way of living and then come out of the water to express our intent to try and live a good life based on the Gospels. There is more to it than that. Christ emerged from the tomb with a transformed, human, risen life. We emerged from baptism with a participation in the same life Christ received when he rose from the dead.
Good behavior doesn’t cause God to give us the gift of risen life. God’s gift of risen life causes us to live a good life. Living a good life is simply a response to the risen life we have already been given. It’s a matter of us living up to who we are.
Sharing in the risen life of Christ is not a future expectation. It is an accomplished fact. Seeing that way makes a big difference. Think, for example, of going up to a young person and trying to encourage him/her to live a good life. One could tell that young person that God expects certain things of him/her – if he/she wants God’s blessing. Or, in light of what Saint Paul is teaching us, one would say to the young person, you have a great gift in you – the risen, transformed human life of Christ. Because of that, you are part of God’s family – and you have been lifted to a new level of human life. You are a gifted person. So live up to who you really are!It’s a magnificent truth that affects middle age and older people too.
May this Easter feast that we celebrate today motivate and inspire all of us to renew our baptismal promises with new found fervor and to do better at living Christ’s way of life.
As we celebrate the joyous resurrection of Christ, I would also like to take this opportunity to again thank all who responded so generously to support our Legacy of Faith Campaign. Over 750 parish families have pledged over $7.2 million to the effort which will enable our faith community to meet our needs and plan for a successful future.
I am also grateful to the nearly 50 parishioners who offered their time, talent and giftedness on our campaign committees. Their efforts helped us achieve such a wonderful outcome. I look forward to sharing news of our progress on campaign projects and pledge fulfillment in the coming weeks and months.
In the Risen Lord,
Father Bernie Pietrzak, Pastor