Easter Sunday – April 17, 2022



“Your mind is a garden.  Your thoughts are the seeds.  You can either grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.”  That anonymous poem sums up the journey we undertook from Lent to Easter!   The weeds that we identified and had taken the time to uproot from our minds and hearts during our Lenten season have, hopefully, been replaced with beautiful flowers!   And for that we say,  Alleluia!  (people repeat)   Indeed, it’s the beautiful flowers here in our church that represent the joy, love and peace that Jesus lavishly wants to pour out on us and which motivate us to embrace the New Life which Jesus’ resurrection from the dead makes possible. And for that we say, Alleluia!  (people repeat)   They’re signs to us, too, of the success of the weeding process that we courageously undertook every week and that nothing can ever overcome God’s grace when we’re open to receiving it.  And for that we say, Alleluia!  (people repeat)

We started out on Ash Wednesday by identifying the weeds that prevent us from having a personal and meaningful prayer life,  the weeds which keep us from giving up habits that are detrimental to our physical and spiritual well-being, and the weeds which keep us from being generous givers to those less fortunate than ourselves.  We found the three pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving were the essential gardening tools to allow the flowers of repentance for our sins to blossom and grow, more and more, each day.   By cultivating a repentant heart, we were able to renew our baptismal consecration and to allow the Holy Spirit to sensitize ourselves to the times and circumstances we needed to avoid, in order to curb our sinful behaviors. And for that we say, Alleluia!  We treasure the flower of  repentance!   (people repeat)

Revved up by our ashes, we then entered our first week of Lent by exploring how we could keep the devil at bay, by cultivating a deeper and more meaningful connection with the Word of God on a daily basis, and how that Divine Word can blossom in our hearts as a greater ability to withstand, any and all, temptations to sin.

Praying with the Word of God and memorizing power verses were some ways that we were challenged to keep the Word of God ever present in our minds, hearts and souls.  Like in the book of Hebrews, we came to see that the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword and when spoken, was able to defeat the wiles and temptations of the enemy.  And for that we say,   Alleluia! We treasure the flower of God’s Word!  (people repeat)

Our second week of Lent helped us to identify our proclivity at times, to shun or avoid suffering or to always see it in negative terms.   Through an examination of our relationship to the cross of Christ, though, we discovered the flower  that some kinds of suffering can often bring about, if it’s for a greater purpose or brings us closer to identifying with Christ in his own suffering and passion or with the powerless in our world.   An example of this kind of suffering, willingly undertaken, would be our willingness to pay higher gas prices so that our money doesn’t go to support a brutal and prolonged war in Ukraine.  And for that we say,  Alleluia!  We treasure the flower of the Cross.  (people repeat)

For our Third week of Lent, we confronted the weeds of judgmentalism and feelings of superiority toward others and discovered the flower of humility and lovingkindness waiting to be born in our hearts, especially toward those, whom we tend to isolate or discriminate against in our personal lives, in our church, or in our world-at-large.    To bring about this humility, we were asked to think of ourselves as the Samaritan woman at the well, who was judged because of her past and to reflect on how the judgements of others, at times, has made us despondent in reaching out for help and for healing from past mistakes.   For this flower of humility, we say, Alleluia!  We treasure the flower of humility!  (people repeat)

Our fourth Week of Lent enabled us to uproot the weed of fence-sitting, in order that the flower of a wholehearted commitment to Christ might flourish and bloom and lead us to evangelize others with the Good News of Jesus Christ.    That evangelization process, we found, was not hard at all, because it starts with ordinary conversations with people about the issues with which they’re struggling and then, allows the light of God’s grace to speak through us to lead them to approach our Lord Jesus Christ for help in these personal struggles.  And for that, we say, Alleluia, We treasure the flower of our Christian calling!   (people repeat)

In our fifth week of Lent, we confronted the weed of refusing to grow or to change or to be made anew.    To uproot this weed, we were challenged to allow the flower of openness to new possibilities, acceptance of new challenges, and a willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit to blossom and dance in our hearts.  It is such openness that can only be achieved when we allow the Spirit of God to direct our everyday lives and actions and to give us confidence in the Lord’s purpose for our lives.   When we do so, we discover that the Lord can make us his instruments of Grace in new and unexpected ways.  And for that we say, Alleluia!  We treasure the flower of openness to the Spirit!

As Holy Week began with Palm Sunday, we were challenged to reject the weed of choosing the easy path that involves maintaining the status quo and allowing unjust social, political, or economic structures to persist in our world.  We were invited to replace these weeds with a commitment to the work of Development and Peace, in bringing to bloom, the flowers of solidarity with the poor and the disaffected, especially in the global South, as we strive to put ‘people and planet first’ in our use and distribution of the world’s resources.   It was in this year’s campaign that we were further challenged to use the great blessings we’ve been given as Canadian citizens, to advance the cause of peace and social justice wherever innocent human life is being threatened.    And for that we say, Alleluia,  We treasure the flower of solidarity with the poor! (people repeat)

Our Holy Thursday celebration challenged us to uproot any bitterness and resentments that we may harbor towards another, and to replace them with the flowers of gratitude and thankfulness for the many ways, in which, God continues to abide with us, even in the darkest times.  Being present at Eucharist, participating as much as possible in the Mass, and realizing that, in this awesome mystery, Christ enters a tiny piece of bread and a simple cup of wine so that we might be partakers of eternal life are some of the reasons we’re called to a continuous state of gratitude.  And for that we say,   Alleluia!   We treasure the flower of the Eucharist! (people repeat)

Good Friday enabled us to identify the weed of hopelessness that we sometimes feel when confronted with the effects of the pandemic on our lives and on our world and the hopelessness that we sometimes experience too when confronted by sin on a global scale.  At these times, we may even begin to question whether our world and our lives could ever be better, that we could ever be redeemed, that we could ever see one another as brothers and sisters of one, human family.  In the place of this weed, we were encouraged to cultivate the flowers of hope in the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ whose forgiveness, won for us, by the shedding of his Precious Blood on the cross, brings about new life for all willing to accept God’s free gift of faith.       And for that we say, Alleluia!   We treasure the gift of hope! (people repeat)

Together, all of these flowers represent a Great Alleluia to the world —  that darkness can never obfuscate the light of faith, that hatred can never overcome the power of love, that despair can never defeat the persistence of hope!  They remind us, too, that our Risen Lord is the ultimate Great Alleluia, and that we, likewise, are called to be Alleluia people, resounding throughout the world, with the joy of the Gospel, and offering the free gift of salvation to one and all!   And for that we say, Alleluia!  Amen!  (people repeat)




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