What’s Next?
Friars Reflect on Easter

HNP Communications HNPNow


Kevin Tortorelli, OFM
Confusion, Doubt and Disappointment … But Easter Light is Not Dimmed

He is not here. This is the first and earliest message of Easter morning. He is not here in the realm of death. This affirmation is met with confusion (is this a case of bribery?) – the bewilderment of Peter as he stands in the tomb with the crumpled shroud in his hands; the apostolic doubt in the person of Thomas, and disappointment on the road out to Emmaus. Jesus did not meet expectations. But the light and truth of Easter are not dimmed. Jesus lives among us as the One who once was dead. He is no longer governed by space and time. This intensity pervades the Eucharist of his body and blood. He is now the Good Shepherd who calls each by name. He will not let us perish. Over all, there is the excitement of the promise of the Spirit who Father and Risen Son will give us. Spirit God will dwell within us, in that place reserved for my being authentic, reminding us of all Jesus said and did. In that mystery of prayer, we will recall the Lord say: as the Father has sent me so I send you. In these days we await the gift of the Spirit. Then you will go into the whole world living this Gospel. And know I am with you till the close of the age.


David McBriar, OFM
Triduum an End and a Beginning for US-6 Friars

This Paschal Triduum is both an ending and a beginning for us friars of the US-6 provinces. For our Savior, Good Friday was the culmination of three years of teaching, healing, and witnessing. For us friars throughout the United States, our pulpits and schools have been places where the question – How best is it to live? – has been asked and answered. Not only by the words we have spoken, but by our own life, singularly and in community. It has been a sign of what authentic human life is, and what it means at its deepest to live respectful of all, especially the poor and troubled. Healing? As friars, we know what it means to enter into the lives of those to whom we minister. Many of the lives we have entered and shared have experienced physical pain, mental anguish and, yes, joy. What a privilege! We are and have been witnesses to the Beatitudes lived. As the US-6 provinces become one, we can, with God’s grace, continue who we are and who we are called to be. It can be a most blessed future for each of us, and for the Church we love and the Lord we serve. It is Easter!


Peter Chepaitis, OFM
The Paschal Pattern

The Easter Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday – is a celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Easter is the exuberant celebration of a pattern that repeats itself throughout the year and throughout our lives. I call it the “Paschal Pattern.” Easter is both the end of Lent and the beginning of another pattern of being born again by renewing our baptism, facing the reality of sin, and rising to new life – not only when we graduate into the Kingdom of God, but also in our daily life.

There is evidence of the Paschal Pattern in creation itself. Spring rises out of winter; nymphs become dragonflies; caterpillars become butterflies, and tadpoles emerge as frogs. Witnesses to the Mystery of Easter arise in every age:  Mary of Magdala, the Beloved Disciple, Peter, and Paul. Throughout history there have been witnesses to the Mystery: Francis and Clare of Assisi, John Newton, William Wilberforce, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. And in our own 21st century: Pope Francis, Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg. Their lives give us hope for our resurrection, even in the darkness of our time. I pray with my own personal witnesses to the Resurrection. Friars like Ben Taylor and Phil O’Shea, and many other women and men who have inspired me, remind me to imitate Jesus both in times of joy and sorrow. One of my mentors, Juvenal Lalor, used to say, “When times were hard, Jesus endured them; when they were good, he enjoyed them.” That is the pattern I want to live.


Charley Miller, OFM
Human Emotions Crammed Into Readings and Rituals

What overwhelms me during Holy Week and Easter is the enormous range of human emotions crammed into the Scripture readings and the rituals. We are pulled, drawn, dragged and invited into Peter’s fears and doubts; Judas’ guilt and remorse; Mary’s heartbreak; the powerlessness of those who had to witness all the pain and injustice, and not be able to stop it; John’s loyalty; Mary Magdalene’s grief, the leaders and soldiers “doing their duty.” And through it all is the fathomless love of God pouring out of Jesus – from his tender washing of the disciples’ feet, to the anguish in the garden, to his consolation of the thief, to his forgiveness of his torturers, to his embrace of us all.


William McIntyre, OFM
Easter Sunday is Just the Beginning

On Ash Wednesday, catechumens had a charcoal cross traced on their forehead. At the Easter Vigil, after being baptized, they had the cross of chrism traced on their crown. Adults – young and older – will have the cross of chrism traced on their forehead during Confirmation. All these sacramental actions occur during the Easter season. Just as Catholics do not take down their Christmas trees on December 26, Easter does not end on the following Monday. Those who received sacraments, and those of us sacramentally sealed long ago, enter into a period of Mystagogy – 50 days until Pentecost. “This is the time for the whole community and the neophytes together to grow in deepening their grasp of the Paschal Mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the Eucharist and doing works of charity; and the neophytes are introduced into the fuller and more effective understanding of the mysteries through the Gospel…” (RCIA nos. 244-245)


Ross Chamberland, OFM
The Easter Season Marinates Us in the Spirit

It is always just the beginning! As our Easter Vigil Liturgy of the Word walked through from our beginnings to our salvation, so, too, does our daily Liturgy of the Hours. It is in this great prayer of the Church where each night we prayerfully ponder Sister Death, and each morning where we sing in praise of this new day. Easter is a season, marinating us in the Spirit of new beginnings. Let us carry that holiness of Spirit into our final provincial chapters, from which we shall emerge as one new Franciscan body alive in Christ Jesus. The Lord is risen, He is truly risen!


Henry Fulmer, OFM
Exhausted and Rejuvenated

Once again, we have finished our Lenten observance of penance, celebrated Palm Sunday, and observed the Triduum celebrations – from the last supper to Jesus’ death and resurrection. What is next for me? Is it the end, or just the beginning? What happened in the Triduum celebration days ago led me to my own Emmaus walk to encounter Christ each day of my life in my religious community, my faith community, and the least among us. It’s a way of beginning all over again, by examining all that has happened within my community of faith, in seeing the elect baptized, confirmed, and receiving Communion. The last few days have been exhausting, but also rejuvenating in my own faith and belief in a God who loves me and cares for all humanity. As Francis would say, “I must begin again” to listen and to seek God’s will for me, but also listen to and see the signs of God’s presence all around me in the Martha’s, Mary’s, Lazarus’, Peter’s, Doubting Thomas’, and Judas’ that I encounter each day, and still bring hope and life to those with whom I live and serve.


Francis Pompei, OFM
The Untold Message of Lent and Easter: Joining Jesus in the Cosmic War

So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and every beast of the field! On your belly will you go… And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Gen: 3) Having been in the “deliverance” ministry for many years now, I find that many Christians and Catholics miss the power of Jesus’ crucifixion. There is a cosmic war going on that was declared in Genesis 3 – a war between Satan, fallen angels, Nephilim, demons, and God. Satan had greater knowledge than ours and messed with our DNA that caused physical desires. This infected our minds, too, with knowledge of good and evil. Temptation and sin entered the world. Most Catholics see Lent as a time to be aware of our sins, confess, and change. The goal is forgiveness and reconciliation. Jesus conquers sin by forgiveness. He shows Satan that yes, we are sinners, but that He loves us anyway.

The greatest power of Satan and evil is fear. In this cosmic war, Jesus conquered the greatest power of Satan – fear of suffering and death. His crucifixion teaches us how to do the same with our fears. The fear found in these words: “My God, why have you abandoned me?” Followed by the trust: Jesus descended into hell to let Satan know the cosmic war and his power of death is over. He is telling Satan: “Checkmate, I’m still alive.” Jesus’ resurrection is our resurrection and the beginning of making all things new. The message from Jesus is to confront Satan, evil and temptation – and cast them out. Easter is not heaven somewhere up in the sky. Planet earth will be heaven, evil removed, and all the good things we did will continue, but greater by far. We can’t imagine how great the glory of God will manifest in us. The separation of heaven and earth will be no more, and God and Jesus will live right here with us on the redeemed earth. That is the hope and God’s plan from the beginning in the cosmic war with the serpent. It’s called Easter!