In 1963, Easter Sunday fell on April 14. The next day, my classmates and I were ordained to the priesthood. For that reason, I celebrate two anniversaries each springtime: Easter Monday, and April 15, on both of which I received the great gift of the priesthood, to which I had looked forward nearly all my life. I ask you today to join me in thanking God for the gift of his Divine Son Our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, for the gift of the Church, the Sacraments, and especially the sacrament of Holy Orders, and most particularly for my vocation to this priestly state of life.
Yesterday, on Easter Sunday, I was invited to spend the day with friends. At their home, I met two of their friends: a mother and college-aged son who had been received into the Church at the Easter Vigil, the night before. So it was a celebration marked by special joy and happiness—the Sacred Chrism almost literally still moist upon their heads, and the wonder of their incorporation into the mystical Body of Christ still filling their hearts with happiness.
All this week we will be celebrating the Resurrection of Our Victorious Lord from the tomb into new and eternal life. The words “victorious” and “victor” come from the Latin verb “vincere,” meaning “to win, to conquer.” Our Lord Jesus won over sin, evil, and death, and became the divine Victor, the quintessential Conqueror who by his sufferings and death made it possible for all of us to triumph over all kinds of evil, including death. Since the name “Victor” was given to me at the time of my entrance into our Dominican family, it is very meaningful to me and in a sense makes Easter my special feast day. I always like it when we call the risen Christ our Victor—our winner, our conqueror. As the young David brought down the enemy giant Goliath and shared his victory with his people in the Old Testament, so Jesus, the young Savior, brought down the power of Satan and shares his victory with his people in the New.
So let us rejoice in the victory, the triumph of our Lord as he rose from the tomb, and let us pray our Alleluias with special fervor and happiness. “Alleluia” means “Praise the Lord” in Hebrew, and is the greatest cry of exultation in all of sacred scripture—the shout of a happy people who have been rescued from evil by their Lord and God. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.