Today we celebrate the crowning truth of our Christian faith, the Resurrection of Jesus.
Easter is a time of great joy and happy memories. We emerge from the penitential season of Lent and the Sacred Triduum into the dawn of the Resurrection. Good Friday, the nadir of salvation history, is always followed by Easter, the zenith, and the two events can never be separated.
Beginning with Pentecost the Resurrection becomes the center of apostolic preaching and Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians that “if Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.” (I Cor. 15:14) Each of us is called to bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus, by word and action. The Second Vatican Council said, “Each individual lay person must stand before the world as a witness to the Resurrection and the life of the Lord Jesus and as a sign that God lives.” (Lumen Gentium #38)
Salvation history, the story of our redemption begins with the Incarnation, when God responds to our brokenness by sending his Son to dwell among us. It continues with the life and teaching of Jesus leading up to his Passion and death. It culminates in his Resurrection and return to the Father with the Ascension. From there, together with the Father, he sends the Holy Spirit beginning on Pentecost, to strengthen and enable us to join our response to the Father’s healing and forgiving love to Jesus’ perfect response.
It is also a time of happy memories. From our childhood, we remember Easter baskets filled with colored eggs and candies, new outfits, family celebrations and stories of how Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs, symbols of new life, came to be associated with Jesus’ rising to new life. Of course, we are also reminded of the new life we shared with him at our own baptism.
Nature seems to join in the celebration as trees bud and crocus, daffodils, iris and tulips suddenly appear. New life springs forth everywhere. The somber Lenten vestments of the priest at Mass are replaced by the white of the Easter Season and we begin to prepare for Pentecost and being renewed by the Spirit.
This Easter season I pray that each of you and your loved ones will know the joy of the Resurrection and bear witness to it in your family and in your relations with others, especially the poor and marginalized. May God bless each of you during this most joyous and holy time!
Image Credit: Resurrection of Christ by Raffaellino del Garbo (Wikimedia Commons)
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