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'Rise,' Bishop Burbidge urges faithful at Easter Vigil

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Rather than feel despondent over COVID-19, increasing violence or other contemporary challenges, Catholics should take comfort and inspiration from the Gospel message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge exhorted in his Easter Vigil homily April 3 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

The Mass drew hundreds of pre-registered, socially distant worshippers, in contrast to last year’s online-only Easter service.

The Lord calls all of us this Easter to overcome the anxieties of modern life, Bishop Burbidge urged.

“Rise from the fear of the pandemic and find courage in realizing that [God] will deliver you,” he said. “Rise from an inordinate focus on self and find new ways to help one another, especially those who are isolated, afraid and in most need. Rise from your sinful way of living and find new life in [his] mercy and forgiveness. Rise from the despair you may be experiencing in carrying your crosses and find strength in uniting them to [him] and the glory that awaits you. Rise from your grief as you mourn the death of loved ones and rejoice in the new and eternal life, [he] promises to all who follow [him].”

He concluded, “Dear friends, we rejoice in good news of great joy: Jesus Christ, by his cross and resurrection, has defeated the darkness and power of sin, suffering and even death itself. There is no need ‘to feel down.’ Instead, strengthened by the gift of the Holy Eucharist you receive tonight, rise to newness of life in him, the Light and Hope of the World, as we say with renewed faith: Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia. Alleluia.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021