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[caption id="attachment_171231" align="aligncenter" width="1180"]"Even if life is hard it's still Easter" by AnneMarie Miller (CatholicMom.com) San Francesco della Vigna / CC BY-SA[/caption]

I stood at the kitchen counter, swiftly returning food to the fridge and placing dirty lunch dishes in the sink. My three-year-old processed by, a miniature white and blue chasuble draping over his small body as he “celebrated Mass.”

“The Lord is risen, alleluia! That’s my homily,” he declared.

What a perfect homily, I thought. While I have heard some fabulous lengthy homilies before, in this succinct statement, my son expressed the exact reminder that the world needs right now: The Lord is risen, alleluia!

Worldwide, we have been experiencing a tremendous health crisis, and this has greatly impacted our observance of Easter. Instead of gathering in our churches to celebrate Our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, many of us were huddled in front of computer or television screens. Instead of sharing the joy of this season with family and friends at gatherings, many of us can only rely on telephone calls or online video meetings. It has been a strange and difficult time for many people, and for some, this season of Easter -- with few or no available opportunities for sacraments -- still feels like Lent.

The Apostles and other early Christians faced tremendous sufferings, too. The readings at Mass during this season have included selections from the Acts of the Apostles, a book which recounts the early days of the Church. In the Liturgy of the Word over the past few weeks, we have recalled the persecutions the Christians faced, including the martyrdom of St. Stephen. Yet, even under these attacks, the Christians continued to cling tightly to the hope-filled proclamation of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. For instance, in reply to the Sanhedrin one day, Peter and the Apostles declared,

We must obey God rather than men.The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:29-32)

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People worldwide have been undergoing many trials, and while the future may appear uncertain and full of challenges, we can look to the example of the early Christians. Just as they spent their lives proclaiming God’s greatness and living in the joy of the Resurrection, we too can embrace this beautiful truth. No matter what we are dealing with right now -- unemployment, isolation, anxiety, sickness, death of loved ones -- let us sing out the joyous Easter proclamation, let us live this statement in daily life: The Lord is risen! Alleluia!

Copyright 2020 AnneMarie Miller