|Rubens' Resurrection of Jesus|
We call Easter the Paschal mystery: paschal relates to the “paschal lamb” of Passover, which Jewish communities celebrate during our Easter celebration this year.
Easter is about the daybreak, starting over. Jesus’s resurrection is a new day. This is a time to be joyful, happy, enthusiastic about life. We have so much to be grateful for, especially the gift of faith in Jesus Christ who is our way, our truth and our life.
Every morning, we awaken to begin again. Perhaps the night before, we carried burdens: things undone, bad things said, good things unsaid. In the morning all is possibility, opportunity. Who among us is content with things as they are? Who does not want to be more loving, more generous, more tenderhearted, more thoughtful, more helpful? This Easter, God wakes us up again, to rediscover the extraordinary graces transforming our lives TODAY.
In the Gospel according to John, chapter 20, we hear the story of the resurrection of Jesus. Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty. Shortly thereafter, Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb, to the disciples in the upper room, and on the road to Emmaus. Jesus is not among the dead. Jesus is risen. He is alive. He has passed through this earthly life – as we do --- and then through the mystery of death into a new, transfigured reality. This heavenly reality is ours as well. That is the Easter message!
Jesus said, I live, and because I live, we also live.
How? We are born in the flesh and reborn in the Spirit. Water is poured upon us in the rite of baptism, and in these waters the Spirit of God is poured upon us, and the triune God lives within us, and we live within the triune God.
As we grow into adolescence, the bishop anoints our forehead with oil in the sign of the cross—and God pours out more fully the gifts of the Spirit so that we might practice more faithfully all of the fruits of the Spirit: patience, generosity, faithfulness and love.
And at the Eucharist, where the living Christ sacramentally presences himself to us in the signs of bread and wine, and becomes one with us in Communion,; the living Christ feeds us with his life so we can continue our journey. If we should stumble on our journey, the living Christ lifts us up in the rite of penance where we celebrate God’s mercy.
Yes, through the sacraments, we experience the living Christ and we go forth to love and serve one another. The exchange of wedding promises, the anointing of the sick, all the sacraments are indeed signs of God’s care.
Eternal life in relationship with God and one another—that is our ultimate purpose. Easter is about getting our priorities straight, about asking, “How can we become more godlike, more loving, more generous, more thoughtful, more helpful?”
Easter is indeed about a new day, a fresh start. Why. Because Jesus Christ lives. And because He lives, we live.