Laetare, Rejoice!
1st Sunday of Easter (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

Who will be the little angel to sing the “Alleluia”? This is an important decision that the liturgical committee has to make in most parishes in preparation for Easter morning. The privileged child has the important role of taking away the black veil that covers the statue of the Blessed Mother during the traditional Easter Dawn procession that depicts the first meeting of the Risen Lord and His Mother Mary. The child must be small enough to be easily hoisted by rope and pulley from a makeshift tower. She should also be old and bold enough to sing the “Regina Caeli” while floating over the crowd of devotees. Aspiring girls, as well as their mothers. look forward to being chosen from among the many angels. After all the practices, it is itself an Easter triumph to hear the little angels sing:

Action starter: Where can you bring Easter joy?

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia. O Queen of heaven rejoice, alleluia.

These traditional rituals express the truth of Easter. Goodness and life have prevailed over evil and death. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his Holy Week message, “Despite all the darkness in the world, evil does not have the last word.”

This is the good news of Easter. Goodness triumphs. A Christian looks at human history in this light. A believer of the Risen Lord is buoyed by the faith that darkness will be overcome by light and that one’s acts of goodness will not be lost in the overall scheme of things. This is a cause for rejoicing and an impetus for continuing Christ’s work in the world.

After the long weekend and holidays, we will be going back to our places of work and our usual preoccupations. In some of these places we would be confronted with the reality of evil. Some people cheat, steal and tell lies. Some people hatch evil schemes in business, politics, or for personal reasons. There are certain wrong practices that have become so ingrained in the society we move in that they are seen as normal and acceptable.

It is in this milieu that we as disciples of Jesus move. It is in this environment that we are called to live holy lives. It is here in this world that we seek to do what is good. We are not alone in this. It is for us that Jesus prayed before his passion, death and resurrection: “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are….I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one (John 17:11-15).”

We have lighted the Easter candle. We have renewed our baptismal promises. We have renounced the evil one. We have been blessed with the holy water. We are renewed in strength, courage, and hope. The resurrection of Jesus gives us the assurance that life overcomes death. As St. Paul says,” We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him…Consequently, you too must think of yourself as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 6:9-11).”

Happy Easter.