Given by the Most Rev­erend Stephen E. Blaire at the Cathe­dral of the Annun­ci­a­tion in Stock­ton.

When the sol­diers came to Jesus on the cross and saw that he was dead, one of them thrust a lance into his side, and imme­di­ately blood and water flowed out. The Church finds pro­found mean­ing in this episode from John’s gospel. The blood sym­bol­izes the sacra­ment of the Holy Eucharist and the water sym­bol­izes the sacra­ment of bap­tism. The Church sees her­self born from these two sacra­ments. She sees her­self fash­ioned from the side of Jesus.

Dear sis­ters and broth­ers, WE are the Church.

On this Easter Sun­day, we gather as the Church to renew our bap­tismal promises. The world hungers for jus­tice and good­ness. In the renewal of our bap­tism we reject all injus­tice and evil. The world hungers to find a pur­pose to life. We have found the mean­ing of life in the waters of bap­tism and in pro­fess­ing our belief in God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The cleans­ing waters of bap­tism flow again on this Easter morn­ing giv­ing us a rebirth of faith. Christ heals us in mind and heart. We are refreshed by the Holy Spirit. Easter flow­ers sym­bol­ize for us the spring­time of life. No mat­ter our age, Easter is a spring­time of grace.

On this Easter Sun­day, with purity of heart and the right inten­tion, as the Church we cel­e­brate the Holy Eucharist. Our con­sciences are cleansed by the blood of Christ. We are made holy by the food of the Eucharist. To receive this sacra­ment worthily demands of us a ded­i­ca­tion to live our lives with char­ity towards all. We must set aside harsh words and every kind of mean spirit. God has for­given us. And oth­ers need our friend­ship and love.

On this Easter Sun­day, the Church finds her­self once again suf­fer­ing from sins and crimes com­mit­ted by some of her mem­bers and clergy. The blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ can purify us. The Church must ever reform her­self to be in con­for­mity to Christ her Head.

The Church indeed has been fash­ioned from the side of Christ. As the Church we are made holy by the suf­fer­ings and death of Jesus. From our bap­tism into Christ, from our par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Eucharist, we are raised up with Jesus so that we might share with Him in the full­ness of grace and eter­nal life.

May this Easter be a spring­time of grace for all of us!


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