Happy Easter!! This Easter was like many previous, but yet was so different. This year at the Easter vigil (aka the most beautiful Mass of the year!) One of my best friends, Geena, I have met here in college joined the church. To help welcome her home, I decided to stay in my college town instead of going home for Easter. This weekend was the first holiday I have spent away from my family at home, but let me tell you how at home I truly felt.
One of my favorite parts of Easter vigil has always been starting in the dark and then providing light by candles. Last year, God blessed me with a beautiful reflection on how we are the light of the world. This year, as the server lit my friend’s candle, he lit mine, and I lit my friend on the other side of me candle, I was reminded how we have the opportunity to light life in whoever we encounter by allowing Life itself (Jesus) to work through us.
I continued to think about this as the initiation process of my friend Geena began. My friend Barbara was Geena’s sponsor. It is also due to her courage that Geena ever experienced a Catholic Mass. Last year as a freshman, Barbara had trust and courage enough to invite the girls on her floor to Mass and to Newman with her. One of those girls, who consistently came to Mass, Newman, and Bible study with her was Geena. The ways in which God can work through one person’s courageous “yes” to evangelize is incredible.
My level of excitement, energy, and life escalated throughout the whole Mass. Following Mass Geena received the anointing of the sick. Then, we all hung out with each other and Barbara’s family before making our way back to the Newman house to be in community longer. Before I left that night, Geena told me how she was going to Mass the next day again, because she was Catholic now so why wouldn’t she go! So I accompanied her to Mass again Sunday morning where there was a baptism occurring. Again, I became so excited about life and welcoming another person to the family. I wish that I could explain to you the level of peace I felt going up for communion.
There were so many times this weekend I was close to tears because of the beauty of it all…and I DON’T cry…But this weekend, four hours from my family, I finally began to understand and experience what it means to be at home, in the one universal, Catholic church. To think that all took to know what home really is, the church, was 20 years and one courageous freshman is mind blowing! Take courage my brothers and sisters, you never know when you will be lighting the light of life in someone else. And welcome home to Geena, and to all of you, like me, who are just beginning to understand what it means to be home, finally! Alleluia, Alleluia!