Resurrexit Sicut Dixit! Alleluia!
He Has Risen As He Said! Alleluia!
● The next Entrance Exam will be given May 3rd. We generally encourage 7th graders interested in St. Michael’s Preparatory to take the exam on that day. Feel free to spread the word. Please have interested families contact Mrs. Christian at 949-858-0222 (ext. 237) to register.
● There is a Moms’ and Dads’ Night Out scheduled for Sunday, April 27, at 6:30 PM in the Perpetual Help Room. See Rimini Esser for more details.
● The Spring Concert is on Sunday, May 11, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help Room. All are invited.
● The Spring Sports Awards Ceremony is on Sunday, May 18, at 6:30 PM, in the Perpetual Help Room.
● Senior Maturas will be presented before the faculty on Friday, May 23, at 12:30 PM. That day is a normal day of classes. All the other students will be dismissed at the regular time (12:20 PM); seniors will be dismissed after they have presented their matura presentation (around 1:45 PM).
● This year’s Commencement Exercises are on Monday, May 26 (Memorial Day), at 7:00 PM, in the abbey courtyard. All students are required to be present; they should arrive by 6:30 PM.
●The next baseball games are as follows: Tuesday, April 29, at 3:15 PM, at St. Michael’s; Thursday, May 1, at 3:15 PM, at San Juan Sports Park (San Juan Capistrano, CA). Our baseball team is currently tied for 1st place. Congratulations!
Homily of the Week by Abbot Eugene J. Hayes, O. Praem.
“O God, who by the pages of both Testaments instruct and prepare us to celebrate the Paschal Mystery, grant that we may comprehend your mercy, so that the gifts we receive from you this night may confirm our hope of the gifts to come.” We have this night listened to 9 selections from the Sacred Scriptures, readings of God’s word, taken from the Old and the New Testament both. We have, as St. Augustine reminded us, listened in fact to God Himself and He has listened to us in the prayers after each reading such as the one I just repeated which we prayed after the last reading from the Old Testament. And if we have done this well, then we are sure that the God to whom we pray is within us and the Son Risen from the dead is once more among us in a particularly grace filled way.
Some of you may be amazed that we have listened to all those readings and responsories and prayers and that we are still awake. It was thus also at the time of St. Augustine who at another Easter Vigil those centuries ago at this precise point of the Vigil said the following words (which any preacher tonight could make his own):
“We have heard many divinely inspired readings and I don’t have the stamina to give you a sermon to equal them in length and you couldn’t take it even if I did.” An editorial comment in one translation observes: “Well he certainly does his best…. Coming after all the readings of the vigil and the singing, it would certainly leave a modern congregation feeling stunned; and there is evidence toward the end that at times he was so tired that he was losing his train of thought…”
Commentators on the word we have heard have pointed out that in the 9 readings one indeed can find, if one looks carefully and prayerfully enough, a common thread and that is dying and rising with Christ. We celebrate the historical event of Jesus’ bodily arising from death of the tomb, his resurrection and our participation in it. And what is that participation of ours, how does it occur, but through our reception of the sacrament of Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments, necessary for salvation, by which we die and rise like Him; death to sin, rising to the new life of grace, here and now, gifts which confirm our hope of gifts to come, as that prayer says. This is after all the focus of our first reading from the New Testament tonight, the reading right before the Gospel, that selection from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans in which we can find the convergence of the themes of all the readings we have heard.
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Christ dies for the sin of our first parents, he dies for all sins, every offense against God. We through baptism into that salvific death of His, die to sin and rise from the baptismal font alive to newness of life, enlivened by divine grace, God’s own life given to and shared with us. Our old self, our self before baptism, crucified with him, is done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin… Consequently, St. Paul tells us, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.
For the Christian the annual celebration of Easter is not just a matter of looking back, of recalling history, no matter how personal and individual. Easter is a lived reality, it represents one more occasion by which the power of the Risen Christ is made present and effective. And so to underline this essential element, we will tonight as every year be called upon to renew our baptismal commitment affording God the way “to bring to perfection the saving work he has begun in us.” It is not just a nostalgia-evoking ritual but a sacramental ritual in that it touches on that which is unseen, the grace of baptism, the reality of divine filiation, the sharing of God’s inner life, our death to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. And in the renewal of the formula we are reminded that it is a program for life. And it is in this context that we understand why this night for early centuries was the occasion for the administration of the sacrament of Baptism. In this context too we understand why, in our own time, this night is the preferred night for the baptism of adults and older children. If the immediately past years are any indication in our country alone, more than 100,000 adults and children will either be baptized absolutely, or if already validly baptized in another Christian denomination, will be admitted into full communion with the Catholic Church through the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation and the reception of Holy Communion for the first time.
Jason Navarro, a young man who has completed the preparatory program at St. John the Baptist parish, is one of those over 100,000 who in a few moments will receive those gifts. Our Easter celebration then is all the more richer and the reality of the Risen Christ’s activity among us all the more tangible as Jason puts on Christ for the first time, as he is strengthened by the Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead, as he is nourished by the body and blood poured out for our salvation.
May the gifts which Jason receives tonight and which we have all received, these Easter sacraments be brought to their perfection, so that all of us having been buried with Christ through baptism into his death we might live fully in newness of that life which will know no end.
As we renew our baptismal vows during this Eastertide, pray for an increase and perseverance in the gift of faith, which God has so graciously given you; and pray for the conversion of so many others who still do not believe in Christ, for their salvation depends on it. May you all have a most blessed and holy Eastertide, and may you persevere in your faith until you see the Risen Christ, our glorious King, face to face in heaven.
●For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.