I came across a quote from Saint Gregory the Great, the Pope from the 6th Century. It made me think of Easter. But before unveiling the quote, a word or two about Gregory.
Gregory, born in 540 to a wealthy patrician family, was elected prefect of Rome in his late 20s, an incredible feat. Dissatisfied with this life, he resigned and became a Benedictine monk. Renowned for his holiness and his discipline, the clergy and people of Rome elected him Pope at age 50. As Pope, he removed unworthy priests from office, lived in monastic simplicity, used funds from the papal treasury to care for victims of the plague, famine, and war, dealt with the Lombard king who was attacking Rome, converted Great Britain to Catholicism, introduced 'Gregorian chant' and other prayers into the Mass, and wrote a book, "On Pastoral Care," which is still read today. There is much more Gregory did. Paul the Deacon, who served with him in Rome and later wrote about his life, quipped, "He never rested." There is a reason he is dubbed the Great. All popes, bishops, and priests should model themselves after this saint.
Onto the quote, which was from one of Gregory's homilies:
Do you wish to know, dearly beloved, the leaps God made? He came from heaven into the womb of the Virgin; from this immaculate womb He went to the crib; from the crib He went to the cross; from the cross He went to the tomb.
It is a simple quote, and there are much better quotes from the saint. But this one struck me because of the image of leaping. Leaping is fundamental to Easter. The bunny hops, does it not? Read the last set of verses of the song Lord of the Dance.
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance, said he,
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the dance, said he.
We could add to Gregory's quote. From the tomb Jesus leapt back to the earth to be with his disciples. From the earth he leapt up to Heaven; from Heaven he leapt down into the Eucharist; from the Eucharist he leapt (and leaps) into our hearts.
If ever there is a day we should dance and leap, it is Easter Sunday. This is our triumphant day. Christ, the all-powerful God, is alive. He is alive in our Church and alive in our hearts. Nothing can defeat Christ. The Sanhedrin, the Romans, death itself could not vanquish our Lord. In Gregory's time: scandalous priests, barbarian invasions, plague. Today: scandalous priests, a twisted morality in our society, materialism. These things did not and will not vanquish our Lord, our Church.
I have one prayer, one hope, for Saint Juliana Parish. It is that Jesus leap into each of our hearts and then from our hearts into the heart of someone else, someone who still has the stone rolled in front of the tomb of their heart. Yes, that is the final leap, to conclude Gregory's quote. From our hearts to the hearts of others.
I want our parish to evangelize. Let's start today, this Easter Sunday. Let's start by simply being joyful that Christ is alive! God bless you and your loved ones. Happy Easter.
I want to recognize the volunteers who are responsible for all the new features of our parish: Jim O'Malley for the new bathrooms and hospitality room in the back of the church (and much, much more); David Plier for the conference room and over $25,000 worth of donations in printing, advertising, furniture; Jim Mitchell for the back of the church; the Adult Faith Formation Team for the 3C's in Christ speakers; Marty McAndrew for the access into the courtyard; Brian Dore and crew for the back of the church and courtyard; Joe McDonough for back of the church and painting; Dana Oswald and her Queen of Hearts team; Kim McAuliffe for the Gala and STEAM lab work. I'm sure I'm forgetting someone, but thank you all!
Yours in Christ,