Easter is pinnacle event for Christians
"Easter is the pinnacle event in the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," said Father John Gerritts, pastor at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hudson. "And, of course, our lives."
But he is quick to add that Easter is not just a one-day event.
"When we celebrate something this important, we need preparation," Gerritts said. "We have the Lenten season and Holy Week which leads up to Easter Sunday. And, we have the 50 days after Easter that leads to Pentecost. This great event needs more than a one-day celebration."
He went on to say, however, that Easter is essentially a year-around celebration.
"Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday is something that Christians celebrate all year long," Gerritts said. "Every time we pray we are celebrating Easter -- the resurrection is the pinnacle event in church and human history."
Gerritts compared the life of Christ to the analogy that opposites are not always what they appear to be.
"We often talk about opposites -- night and day; fast and slow," Gerritts said. "If you look at night and day, however, those opposites make up one 24-hour day. Likewise, life and death look like opposites, but in reality, life and death make up life.
"We celebrate Jesus' life much of the year, but talk about his death as we approach Easter. But the single great celebration encompasses His life, death and resurrection -- that's His life."
When asked how he would approach a person who has doubts about Easter, Gerritts said it depends on that person's life experiences.
"The Bible tells the story of faith, but more than that I hope to lead people to live faith daily," Gerritts said. "When we read the Biblical accounts we can all find ourselves in one of the Biblical personalities.
"We see Peter (leader of the Apostles) who during Holy Week said 'I do not know Him;' We see Joseph of Arimathea who tried to keep his love for Jesus secret, but then showed his love when he boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus to be buried in his tomb; and we see the centurion at the crucifixion who proclaimed 'Surely this was the Son of God!'"
Gerritts said everyone goes through various stages of belief during their life. He said that some days Christians have the enthusiasm of Mary when she found the open tomb.
"Other days we are a little like Thomas and have some doubts."
Gerritts said we all "often take our faith for granted."
He said the secular world tends to celebrate Christmas more than Easter.
"Christmas and Easter go hand-in-hand," Gerritts said. "Jesus was born so that He could suffer and die and rise again. Easter is the completion of the story. For Christians, Easter has the most significance."
He told another story of a fellow in church whose grandmother was dying and he saw the sun come through the stained glass window. Then he heard the choir singing.
"He whispered to his son, 'what if it's all true?'"
Gerritts encourages people to take the step of Joseph of Arimathea and step out of the comfort zone and make the proclamation that "I am a disciple of Jesus."
Father John Gerritts is new to St. Patrick Church Hudson, having come to Hudson from Rhinelander on Jan. 3. He spent 16 years at Rhinelander and before that, five years in Superior.
He is a native of Merrill. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities and earned graduate degrees in Rome, Italy.
Services this weekend at St. Patrick include: