Easter: The 'Spring' of new life in Christ |
This is an odd time of the year, whether you look at the secular or Church calendar. On the one hand, we're waiting with anxious anticipation to spring and summer. We can't wait to put away our winter clothes and get out the t-shirts, shorts, and all the things of summer. We're waiting anxiously for the first signs of spring, the buds on the trees, the signing of birds, and flowers beginning to push their way up from the ground. Yes, we can hardly wait.
But before we see those things, we get weather as changeable as it can get. One day it will be cold, the next warm. We seem to get a lot more rain that we'd like and if it's a cold rain, we really feel miserable. (At least, this is the case if you live in the northern climes like Cleveland. And with Lake Erie we get some really strange weather changes.) But we know, and accept, that this is what we have to go through in order for the trees to bud and the flowers to grow. Somehow, these 'trials' make the seeing of green trees and flowers all the more appreciated. And our joy is expressed in a feeling of euphoria and freedom.
On the Church calendar, we have essentially the same thing. It's a time we remember, commemorate, the days when we were lost, trapped in the cold of a world wrapped in sin. And we longed for the rising of the 'Son', the 'spring' of new life in Christ. But before we get there, there are ups and downs. On Passion, Palm, Sunday, we recall Christ's coming to Jerusalem. Just as the calendar may say it's spring, but we aren't there yet, Christ's entry ushers in the hope of freedom from the cold of the world. Holy Week is changeable, from praise on Sunday, Christ experiences vast changes in the 'climate' of the people. From a warm and joyfull acceptance, to cold rejection, then finally, persecution, suffering and death. But these are the 'pains' of the coming of new life.
This whole past week, we were saddened by the Passion of Christ. The suffering He went through for our sake, the suffering He went through on account of our sins and forgetfulness. This sorrow begins with the agony in the garden and culminates at the cross. Saint Francis of Assisi said that he would not be ashamed to go about the world weeping loudly over the Passion of Christ. But then our sorrow is turned to unbounded joy, for on Easter Sunday, we commemorate that when the women, Peter and John, went to the tomb, He wasn't there…….HE HAS RISEN!!!!
This is surely a time of celebration, of joy. Not the wild celebration of a birthday party, nor the somber celebration of a funeral (where we celebrate the deceased life), but one of awe, jubilee and praise.
We've all often heard that we should treat everyday like Christmas for the sense of love and brotherhood that that Holy Day evokes, but for me, I'd prefer everyday be treated like Easter. Where each and everyday, we come before the Lord in awe, jubilee and praise, thanking Him for all He has done for us. Thanking Him for His suffering and death, thanking Him for rising to new life and opening that new life to us. And we can, because we commemorate that event at every Mass. The sacrifice of Calvary is there at every Mass.
We single out this past week, this day, for special consideration of this awesome and wonderful gift and sign of God's love. But lets not forget that this 'celebration' is ongoing. It occurs at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered around the world. What a vain and shallow notion to think it's to celebrate us.
Each and every day, we can say, we can celebrate that "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus Who was crucified. He is not here; for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay" (Matthew 28:5-6).
We can echo the words of Pope John Paul II, "Be Not Afraid." HE HAS RISEN, ALLELUIA!!!!!
From my family and myself, may you all have a Happy and Blessed Easter. And may the Lord grant you peace, a peace that the world cannot give, so that Easter may be in your hearts, now and forever.
For past columns by Pat Ludwa, see VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives
April 15, 2001
volume 12, no. 105
Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW column