Msgr. Luigi Giussani (1922-2005) was an Italian priest and professor of theology, who spent many years teaching in Milan but who is best known as the founder of the Communion and Liberation movement. When he died in 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) preached his funeral Mass, saying: “[Msgr. Giussani] understood that Christianity is not an intellectual system, a packet of dogmas, a moralism; Christianity is rather an encounter, a love story; it is an event.” This approach to the Faith is apparent in a meditation that Giussani gave many years ago on the great feast of Easter that we celebrate this weekend. He writes: “Ultimately, people – young and not so young – need one thing: the certainty of the positivity of their time and of their lives, the certainty of their destiny.” He points to the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday as that which definitively fulfills this basic human need. “To say ‘Christ is risen’ is to affirm that reality is positive; it is to lovingly affirm reality. Without Christ’s Resurrection, there is only one possibility: nothingness.”
What we proclaim to the world this Easter is the message of hope that the Church has been proclaiming for almost 2000 years, ever since that Sunday morning when the disciples of Christ arrived at the empty tomb of Him who was crucified, and then encountered Him alive in the flesh. It is not a myth, but the central fact of history, that one who was dead now lives – and He shares His life with us. Reality, then, includes resurrection. Reality, then, is where we are invited into a loving relationship with God, who once died for our sins and rose again because He loves us. Reality, then, is the place of wonder, where we marvel at Him who made us, who redeems us, and who shares His life with us forever – not in some distant time or place, but right now, in the reality of the present moment. Reality thus leaves no room for despair, but is instead an open invitation to conversion and the life of high adventure, which is the ordinary life of relationship with Christ Jesus.
On behalf of Fr. Mariusz, Deacon Larry, and all the staff of the Parish of St Cecilia-St. Gabriel, I wish you and your loved ones a blessed and joyful Easter. May this greatest of feasts fill your hearts with loving wonder at what God has done for us.