Incorporated into the Puzzle of Salvation

Bishop Johnston lights the Paschal Candle at Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Megan Marley

“He is Risen!”

“—He is truly Risen!”

Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. led the congregation gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for Easter Vigil Mass in this response at the beginning of his homily, driving home the joyous news of the just-read Gospel account of Christ’s Resurrection. Over 100 persons were in attendance March 31 for the Vigil, which started outside with the blessing and wind-challenged lighting of the Paschal Candle and procession indoors.

In his homily, Bishop Johnston compared the multiple Old Testament readings read prior to the Gospel to pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

“It’s an imperfect analogy, but we might think of all these readings this evening as the outer borders, the corners; and the person of Jesus Christ, put to death for our sins and risen from the tomb, as the great piece at the center of it all, that ties the rest together and gives all the other pieces meaning,” he said.

The bishop said that Christ fulfills and makes all things new.

“This is what makes Christianity unique. The Christian message generates an ‘unprecedented newness’ in the world, that ‘gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction’. This famous statement of Pope Benedict, and taken up by Pope Francis, gives us a sense of the originality and uniqueness of Christianity,” he continued.

“Christ came to incorporate us, each of us, into his new creation. The fragments of our lives, the pieces, including our crosses, our stories with all their twists and turns, are brought together into a new whole in Christ, and this begins with our baptism,” Bishop Johnston said. He continued to list the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist as continuing to help ‘make all things new’ in us.

“This newness is meant to find verification in our lived experience; in the concrete experience of our daily life. Our faith in Christ is not simply an assent and an adherence to the event of God in history,” Johnston said.

“Christ wants us to ‘verify’ our faith in our own life and in our own experiences—Christ wants us to verify our faith, personally. This is what makes for an authentic Christian life and also what makes the world new.”

“As we celebrate Easter, let us look up and see the new horizon and the decisive direction that Christ has given to our lives, and so be formed into true Christians.”


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October 23, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph