From Our Pastor – Bulletin Message for April 16, 2017
An Easter Memory
It was on Easter Sunday 1995 that I flew an airplane on my own for the first time. I was out of college not even a year, still living at home with my parents, beginning my professional/business career (not yet seriously thinking about priesthood), and enjoying the challenge and freedom of flying airplanes.
I recall the day as having a calm, peaceful sky. There was a thin, high cloud cover, mild temperatures, and freshness to the beginning of the Spring season.
After Mass and brunch with my family, I received a phone call (landline at my folks’ home…remember those days?) from my flight instructor asking if I would like to “go up” today, and I jumped at the chance, thinking in the back of my mind that this might be the day of my first solo. I knew I was getting close as I had about 15 hours of instruction in the plane that I was flying – a single-engine, 4-seat, 160 horsepower Piper Cherokee Warrior.
Sure enough, after about a half-hour of flying above Moraine State Park and Lake Arthur, we returned to the Butler County Airport and practiced a few takeoffs and landings. It was after the third landing and taxiing off of the runway that my instructor, Mark – a laid-back, fair-haired, confident 23-year-old surfer-dude kind of guy from California – said, “Ok…you’re ready…you know what to do!” and hopped out of the plane to watch.
My heart rate increased about 1,000 percent. I indeed said a few prayers as I taxied — for the first time by myself — to the end of the runway and throttled-up. It was simultaneously frightening and exhilarating as the plane soon lifted off of the earth and into the sky! I remained in the traffic pattern to practice the 3 takeoffs and 3 landings necessary for one’s first solo flight. It is written in my logbook that I made 3 takeoffs and 5 landings that day because I bounced the final landing of the day 3 times before the plane settled for good on the runway!
That memory is vivid because all of my senses were attuned to flying that Piper Cherokee Warrior. You could say it was a matter of life or death.
Easter Sunday is about Resurrection — life after death. My memories of Easter now focus on the vivid story of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross and his glorious Resurrection. Every Easter Sunday is a celebration of our lives in Christ as we witness the goodness that he brings to us every day!
May you learn Jesus, love Jesus and live Jesus on this Easter Sunday and know always that HE IS RISEN!
Yours in Christ,