Easter heralds a new beginning for us – the opportunity to rediscover God’s grace. Below, a friar reflects on the possibilities that the Easter message brings us.
Happy Easter! Jesus Christ lives! Because he lives, we live. That is the Easter message. God’s world is ours forever.
Easter symbolizes life. A popular symbol is the Easter egg. Just as the chick breaks out of the egg at birth, so too we believe that, in the mystery of our death, we will break out of our earthly “skin” into a new indescribable heavenly life. And why do we believe this? Because Jesus, once crucified and dead, is alive. The living Christ already anticipates what we will become.
But until Jesus Christ comes again in glory at the end-time to make all things new, we are called, by virtue of our baptismal promises, to continue Jesus’s ministry, to be his missionary disciples today as the apostles were in the first century.
Easter is about the dawn, a new day for each one of us. Every morning, we have another chance. Perhaps when we went to bed we carried “baggage”: bad things said and done, good things unsaid and not done. In the morning, all is opportunity. Who doesn’t want to be more loving, more generous, more compassionate, more helpful? Who wouldn’t want the courage to act upon our convictions as opposed to our fears?
Let this be the day to begin again, to repair the broken, to rediscover God’s extraordinary grace transforming ordinary lives into the likeness of God.
In the word of God, Peter proclaims the good news, and speaks about all that God has done for us through Jesus. Jesus was baptized by John, anointed with the Spirit, and went about working signs and wonders, proclaiming that the kingdom of God was beginning to burst into our lives. Jesus indeed shows us a God of mercy and forgiveness. And that’s why Pope Francis emphasizes that the Church is a field hospital, here to heal wounds.
In his letter to the Christian community in Colossae, modern Turkey, Paul challenges us to seek God in our everyday lives so that we might be with him in glory at the end.
In the Gospel according to John, we hear the story of the resurrection. Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb to find it empty; she summons Peter and John. The disciples discover that Jesus is not among the dead. He is risen; He is alive. He passed through the mystery of death into a new, heavenly reality. This heavenly reality is ours as well. That is the Easter message!
Born in the flesh, we are reborn in the Spirit. In the rite of baptism, the Spirit of God is poured out upon us. As we grow in faith, in confirmation, our forehead is blessed with oil—and God pours out more fully the gifts of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In the Eucharist, the living Christ truly presences himself to us sacramentally and mystically and becomes one with us in communion so we can continue his ministry. If we should stumble on our journey, Christ lifts us up in the rite of penance where we celebrate God’s mercy.
Yes, the sacraments are signs of God’s care for us as we journey to our heavenly dwelling place. Yes, Easter is about a new dawn, a new day, a fresh start. Christ is risen. And because he lives, we live.
— Fr. Kevin, a longtime educator and president emeritus of Siena College and former president of Mount St. Mary College and Christ the King Graduate School of Theology, is parochial vicar at St. Raphael Church in St. Petersburg, Fla. the previous reflection, A Spiritual Recipe for Lenten Journey, was written by John Maganzini. OFM.
Editor’s note: Friars interested in writing a reflection for HNP Today on a timely topic — a holiday, current event, holy day, or other seasonal themes – are invited to contact the HNP Communications Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional reflections by friars can be found on the Spiritual Resources page of HNP.org.