Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Vigil in Vera Cruz

I love the liturgy of the Easter Vigil and cherished the celebrations at St. Thomas Aquinas in Ames, especially the Baptisms by immersion. And so the celebration here in Vera Cruz was a little bit of a let down.

The crowd was small, less than 50 – possibly due to the torrential rains that fell shortly before the 7 pm hour.  I read most of the readings because only two persons volunteered to help read. (I shortened the Abraham story and left out Baruch). To help the people understand the readings I had a short discussion after three of them.

But I was inspired by the Gospel and shared my thoughts with the congregation.

It’s the women who arrive at the tomb. Where are the men?

Do not be afraid, says the angel at first and then Jesus greets them in the same way.

Go back to Galilee. Don’t stay in the big city. Go out to the boondocks. As I told the people we need to go back and see the risen Christ where we live, in the back roads of the department of Copán, not looking for him in the houses of power in Tegucigalpa.

But the main question I raised was how do we live as resurrected people?

Before the celebration I had gone to bring communion to three people in town. Don Luis Alonso is 92 years old and very frail. But he was sitting up in the front room of his house with his family around. I knelt beside him and spoke with him. We prayed the Lord’s prayer together and then I gave him the Eucharist. He had such a beatific smile on his face.

Then we went to a older sick woman. There was, at first, a question about whether we would be allowed go in to see her. A visiting relative insisted that she was an evangelical but relented after talking with her. She was lying in bed, very frail. As I spoke she said she was a little deaf and so I spoke directly into her ear. She prayed the Our Father with me and as soon as I offered the Host she opened her mouth, definitely hungering to receive the Lord.

I shared with the congregation the deep joy of these people who despite illness and old age were full of a deep joy upon receiving the Eucharist. They are signs to me of the risen Lord.

There are other signs here – too many to mention – but they include the dedication of pastoral workers in the countryside, the efforts of the church in this diocese to be with the poor, accompanying them in the processes of liberation, the efforts of Caritas of the diocese to facilitate the conscientization of the people in the diocese so they can be participants in the process of rebuilding, refounding, resurrecting Honduras.

These are but a few signs. Christ is risen – here and now – and we await the final victory, living in hope.


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