The Resurrection of Jesus reminds us of the basic belief of our faith as St. Paul expressed perfectly in his first letter to the Corinthians 15:14 "... and if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty too your faith."
Hopefully, we have prepared ourselves throughout the days of Lent to worthily celebrate the feast of the Resurrection. In His ministry, Jesus respected life in every way from children to those preparing for death. His great miracle that we heard at the end of Lent proclaimed, "Lazarus come forth." It is very difficult to explain this teaching of resurrection of the dead, but it is new life that Jesus was called to and what we will be called to.
We are now working on earth to build the Kingdom of God in this world and the world to come. Our loved ones are with us for all days. Our Catholic cemeteries provide us with a place of remembrance where we can go to commemorate the lives of our loved ones and prayerfully reflect upon what their lives meant to us.
Each Memorial Day, I celebrate Mass in our parish cemetery at St. Mary's on County Road in Swormville, and I remind everyone that the cemetery is an extension of the parish. It is here that, what we celebrate at the Eucharist takes our faith to the next level. It is here on sacred ground that we show our Catholic faith to the world.
Of course, this also pertains to the Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo here in Western New York. Whether at Mount Olivet, Gate of Heaven, Assumption, Holy Cross, Holy Sepulchre, Queen of Heaven or St. Adalbert's, we bring our loved ones to be memorialized at their final resting place. Cemeteries are forever and the Church of Buffalo is committed to maintain our diocesan cemeteries and the 103 parish cemeteries in the eight counties. This "work," if we can call it this, is the work of all Catholics.
In this season of Easter, we have the 50 days ahead of us to reflect upon the Paschal Mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. In this mystery, we die to sin to rise to new life with the Lord. May the season of Easter remind us of this aspect of our faith as we believe in the sanctity of human life.
Father Robert M. Yetter is pastor of St. Mary Parish, Swormville, and a member of the board of Catholic Cemeteries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Inc.