Christ is risen! Alleluia!
For those who exercise good stewardship of their Catholic faith, this April is the happiest, most joyful of months for it ushers in the great Easter season – a season of profound hope and joy. During the Easter season, which extends 50 days, from the Easter Vigil Mass of Saturday evening, April 8 to the Vigil Mass of Pentecost Sunday, on Saturday evening, May 27, Christian stewards are exhorted to celebrate and be joyful, for our Savior is with us.
In his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis revealed that the best way to live out the joy of Easter is to become a genuine family of faith, an “evangelizing Church that comes out of herself.” He urged Catholics around the world to contemplate the mind of Jesus Christ and what it means to be the “light of Christ.” From there, Francis believed a spirituality of missionary discipleship could be cultivated that would “help the Church get out of herself “ and reach out to those who live in darkness.
At the Easter Vigil, all the great symbols are there: darkness, light, fire, water. The Vigil begins in darkness; not a darkness to be ignored, but a darkness in which we realize where we would be without the light of Christ, a darkness that reveals much about our world, our own sinfulness, the darkness that sometimes envelopes our own lives and even shrouds our own hearts. But then, the great fire of the Vigil is lit, a fire which consumes the darkness, and the procession into the church reminds us of the light and strength provided by the community of the faithful and the saving light of Christ. Indeed, Saint Paul maintains that we are stewards of this great light. We remember the waters of baptism during the Vigil as we renew our baptismal vows. The Vigil also brings into our community those newly baptized who proceed joyfully with us into April.
As Christ’s disciples who exercise stewardship of Jesus’ teachings, come into the glory of this April, join with those apostles whose hearts were on fire, and contemplate the words of the risen Lord: “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matt. 5:16). For good stewards of their faith, this charge should be enough to bring hope and joy. Indeed, April is the most glorious of months. Christ is risen! Alleluia!
A STEWARDSHIP PRAYER for April
We know the truth of the Easter proclamation.
Christ is risen and with him all creation!
Light replaces darkness, joy replaces sadness, life replaces death.
Through the power of your Spirit, there is no failure his love and mercy cannot reverse,
no humiliation he cannot exchange with blessing, no anger he cannot dissolve, no routine he cannot transform.
All is embraced by the victory of your son’s cross and resurrection.
Help us always be good stewards of Easter’s light, see Resurrection as a daily event,
and yearn for the love of Christ as intensely as he yearns for our love.
We pray this in Jesus’ name.
Article and prayer reprinted with permission from the International Catholic Stewardship Council.