From Our Pastor: Easter Sunday
ALLELUIA HE IS RISEN!!!
Truly He is risen Alleluia! We are an Alleluia people. It always feels so jarring to have Mass without the Alleluia, but after these 40 days of penitence and fasting and preparation, we sing Alleluia!! BUT what is that word? What does it mean? Where does it come from? Hallel literally means “praise.” It comes from the Great Hallel! This is a set of psalms singing praise to God. Psalms 113–118 are a Hallel, often called the Egyptian Hallel. These praise the Lord most especially for the work He did of saving the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and all of the wonders He worked for them. It ends, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.” The Great Hallel refers to Psalm 136, which begins “Praise the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever,” and ends “freed us from our foes, for his mercy endures forever; and gives bread to all flesh, for his mercy endures forever. Praise the God of heaven, for his mercy endures forever.” It’s a thanksgiving hymn for God’s everlasting mercy extended from psalm 113–118 to 136. The part that always struck me was the line “and gives bread to all flesh.” I think this is stark as He not only feeds us, “all flesh,” with bread, but that He makes all bread He feeds us with His flesh. This Psalm 136 was sung as part of the Passover meal, most especially after the third cup or the cup of blessing. There were four cups in the Passover meal that Jews would celebrate and know in the time of Christ. The fourth cup was called the cup of consummation, which meant the sacrifice was complete and the Passover was fulfilled to bring about their salvation! St. Paul tells us that the cup at the Last Supper was the cup of blessing, the third cup. We see this most especially because after the Last Supper, they went out singing a hymn of praise on their way to the Mount of Olives, for what we know as the agony in the garden. This is where Jesus prays for the cup to pass by Him, but what cup? He is speaking of the cup of consummation, which would mean He has offered the sacrifice of Himself, the Lamb of God, and that the new Passover, the holy sacrifice of the Mass, was then completed. Which means when we receive that cup of blessing in the Mass, we see made present also the sacrifice and the cup of consummation that sets us free! All of this is wrapped up in this term of praise to God that the Jewish people would sing, and we continue that song today being an Alleluia people! A people of praise to God for the victory and salvation He has won for us!
Today we experience the resurrection of Christ! We see with Peter, and at his witness for us, the empty tomb! As the whole world needs to know this good news of His resurrection and the salvation won for us, so too may they know and see and believe and experience it! May we see and believe and cry out Alleluia truly He is risen! Go singing Alleluia!
Happy Easter to you and your family on behalf of myself, Fr. David Beagles, and Fr. Rafal Pyrchla; Deacon Wayne Zimmerman and Deacon Dennis Holbrook; and all of the parish staff! May you truly allow the resurrection to resonate in your feasting today! I will be with my family to celebrate this gift of the resurrection at my parents’ home in Springfield. You will be in my heart as I celebrate with them. Be the Easter people the world needs! Make sure prayer is a part of your feasting today and always! He has saved you! He is risen! Celebrate and sing praise to God. Alleluia!
-Rev. Steven Arisman