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Dying and Rising

We celebrated Easter Sunday last week but our celebration of Easter has not ended.  We celebrate the Easter Season for 50 days until Pentecost.  Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection.  It is the celebration of new life but before we receive new life we must first die to this life.  We must die with Christ so that we might rise with him.

We can die with Christ in the way we live our lives, handing our lives over to the Father’s will.  We can die with Christ and rise in new life in our celebration of the Sacraments.

In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are reborn in the Holy Spirit.  In baptism, we say we die to the things of this world so that we may have new life through Jesus.

In the Sacrament of Confirmation, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.  In asking for Confirmation we say we know we need to be sealed and strengthened in the Holy Spirit so that we might seek the things of God instead of the things of this world.  We need the Holy Spirit to help us be able to die with Christ to the things of this world to rise with Christ.

In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, we acknowledge the sacrifice of Christ when he died for us on the Cross.  In receiving the Eucharist, we profess how much we need Jesus to overcome the things of this world.  In coming to the Eucharist we profess a desire to give up (die to) the things of this world favoring life with Jesus.

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) we admit that we fail to die to the things of this world; that sometimes we give into the temptations of the flesh.  But in seeking reconciliation we also say we want to change our ways.  We seek God’s forgiveness but not just his forgiveness but to be strengthened to do better.  In coming to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we humbly acknowledge our past, seek to die to the past and receive new life.

In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick we seek healing.  Certainly, physical healing may be desired but there is also spiritual healing.  Spiritual healing that helps us look beyond the physical illness to see the presence of God in the moment.  This is another dying with Christ to hand over our illness to Jesus.  Remember Jesus’ prayer in the Garden, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

In the Sacrament of Marriage, two become one flesh.  The couple say we are no longer one.  We come together in love.  Christ is love and to love is look beyond the things of this world (die with Christ) to see new life in God’s eyes.

In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, one is ordained to serve.  In my ordination I promised to serve God.  I give up some of the earthly things to help bring God’s people closer to him.  I say it isn’t all about me.  Jesus said I came not to be served but to serve.

May we all follow Jesus’ example of dying so that we may rise to new life with him.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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