Backed by an image of Christ who embraced and overcame the cross, Cristina Marino leads song April 21 at Holy Redeemer Church in North Portland. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)
Backed by an image of Christ who embraced and overcame the cross, Cristina Marino leads song April 21 at Holy Redeemer Church in North Portland. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)

The bells of Holy Redeemer Church sounded joyfully and persistently over North Portland on Easter morning as a parish known for its multiracial school and vibrant social services turned to what sustains it all — the Paschal Mystery of death being transformed into life.

Holy Cross Father Chris Brennan, parochial vicar, explained the anxiety and confusion the first disciples felt when they saw the empty tomb and wondered where Jesus’ body was. He compared the feeling to what many Catholics have experience in the past year, when national and global sex abuse scandals came to light. Father Brennan, who himself seemed emotional over the topic, told the crowd it is easy to wonder where Jesus has gone.

But he reassured listeners that the Lord is closer than we think and can be discovered when we follow the Gospel.

“When we love, in the face of only searing hatred, we find Jesus, the Risen One,” the priest said. “When we turn our enemies into neighbors, we find Jesus, the Risen One. When we forgive those who have only sought our peril and defeat, we find Jesus, the Risen One. When a young couple chooses life and the sacrifices it entails, we find Jesus, the Risen One. When we see the poor as our brother or our sister, embrace their dignity and feed their hunger, we find Jesus, the Risen One. When parents can love their gay child as God loves them, made in his image and likeness, we find Jesus, the Risen One. When addictions no longer grip the hearts and lives of our friends, we find Jesus, the Risen One. When we take a deep breath, we find Jesus, the Risen One.”