There is a Shrine in Jerusalem called the Holy Sepulcher where pilgrims from all over the world visit a tomb that is empty. It has a note at its entrance which says, “He is not here.” It is famous because
Jesus Christ who was once buried there rose from the dead, leaving an empty tomb, as He had told his disciples he would. With this fact, the Lord did the most important miracle in His life, defying death and the laws of nature.
The phoenix bird is one of the earliest symbols of the Risen Christ. It is said that when this legendary bird felt its death was near (every 500 to 1,461 years) it would set itself on fire after which a new phoenix sprang forth from the ashes. Thus, the phoenix symbolizes immortality, resurrection, and life after death. It sums up the Easter message perfectly.
Jesus gave up His life and from the grave He was raised to life again on the third day. New life rises from the ashes of death.
The phoenix also symbolizes our daily rising to new life. Every day, like the phoenix, we rise from the ashes of sin and guilt and are refreshed and renewed by our living Lord and Savior with His forgiveness and the assurance that He still loves us and will continue to give us the strength we need.
We rejoice at this great and unique event on Easter Sunday. "Easter" literally means "the feast of fresh flowers." We celebrate it with pride and jubilation for the Resurrection is the greatest of the miracles proving that Jesus is God. It is the guarantee of our own resurrection giving us hope and encouragement in this valley of tears and reminding us that life is worth living.
For every true Christian, every day must be an Easter Day, lived joyfully in the close company of the Risen Lord. Faith in the Risen Lord truly opens our eyes and hearts to new visions of life.
*With Fr. Syd, we wish to acknowledge our liturgists, deacons, ministers and volunteers who diligently and devotedly shared their time, talent and services to help make our celebration of Holy Week truly meaningful and spiritually fruitful.
*Also, my wholehearted personal thanks to one and all who offered their prayers, thoughtful remembrances and gifts on my 34th Ordination Anniversary. May God bless and love you dearly.
For those with birthdays or wedding anniversaries next month. Fill in and complete this form, and put it in the collection basket or return it to the Office no later than the third Monday of the prior month.