by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto


      "He is risen as He said! Alleluia, alleluia!"

      Isnít Easter wonderful? After forty days of Lenten Penance and remembrance of the Passion and Death of Jesus, we celebrate His Resurrection from the dead. He lives! Jesus lives -- just as He said!

      And thanks be to God for that, for if Jesus had not risen, as He said He would, our Catholic religion would be in vain. We would have to look for another religion, because ours would not be the true one.

      Everything about Easter is wonderful. The music, the aromatic lilies, the liturgy, the colors -- the Easter bonnets and of course, the stories in Scripture of what happened immediately after the Resurrection.

      I love the story about Mary Magdalene weeping outside the tomb of the Risen Savior and telling the Man (she thinks is the gardener): "They have taken Him away and I do not know where they have laid Him. Sir, if you know, please tell me and I will take Him away." Jesus only needed to say one word -- her name -- "Mary! Perhaps it was the way He had said her name so many times before. Maybe it was the fact that He said her name with so much love in His voice! But upon hearing her name, she KNEW it was Jesus. Then immediately the tears stopped. And in proportion to her grief, came her joy!

      "Master!" she exclaimed.

      Yes, Easter is a time for grief to be replaced with ecstatic joy. He is risen as He said!

      There is another Easter story in the Scriptures that I dearly love because the human side of Jesus is very apparent. He did something that all of us humans have done sometime or other. Jesus pretended!

      On the road to Emmaus, Jesus joined a few of His disciples, who did not recognize Him. When first joining them, Jesus asked them: "What are you discussing on your way!"

      Now, you mean to tell me that He didnít know that already??? I love it!

      The disciples were discussing the death of Jesus and were heartbroken over it. So Jesus explained the Scriptures to them. He explained how the Son of Man had to go through what He did so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled. During the explanation, the hearts of the disciples began to burn within them. Truth has a way of burning into oneís soul. When they all arrived in Emmaus, Jesus PRETENDED to continue His journey. He PRETENDED. He acted AS THOUGH He was going to continue on.

      I love it! How wonderfully human Jesus shows Himself to be!

      We know the rest of the story! The disciples (still not recognizing Him) urged Him to stay and have supper with them. During the supper, the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

      What a wondrous gift of joy! How their hearts were filled to the brim and overflowing. They had been walking with the Risen Lord and ate with Him and didnít know it until the "breaking of the bread!"

      Sometimes it is good to pretend as long as truth reigns in the end. Jesus sanctified even that.

      Alleluia! Alleluia! He is risen as He said! May He bless you with great Easter joy!