“He saw and believed.”
Dear Members, Companions, Volunteers, Amici, and Friends,
For the first time since 1956, Easter Sunday falls on April Fools’ Day which has sparked numerous articles and suggestions from late night television on how to combine the two feasts. For example, replace the filling in the famous Cadbury Crème Egg with mayonnaise. April Fool! Or host an Easter Egg Hunt but don’t hide any eggs. When the children become a bit frustrated in their eggless search, you say you have received a text from the Easter Bunny: “April Fool!”
When Mary comes to the tomb before daybreak and “saw the stone removed from the tomb,” she had to wonder if someone was playing a cruel April Fool’s joke on her. Assuming the body has been stolen, she races to tell Simon Peter and John: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” Peter and John run to the tomb with John arriving first. The gospel says he bends down and “saw the burial clothes there.” Simon Peter finally arrives, huffing and puffing, gasping for breath. He barges right in and see the cloths “and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial clothes but rolled up in a separate place.” John goes and takes a quick look around at the scene and the gospel says, “he saw and believed.”
When Jesus rose from the dead, he discarded his funeral attire, the burial cloths, and became a new creation. The arrival of Easter signals a new dawn for the world. It is a day for rejoicing, for believing that life is more powerful than death, love more powerful than hate, compassion erases indifference, empathy replaces apathy, and reconciliation instead of revenge will rule the world. No joke.
As Kayla McClurg has written, “Isn’t it intriguing that faith in the Risen One grows from the small dark seed of not knowing?” But this is the “nature of post-resurrection life: not knowing allows us to see with new eyes.” Which is why Easter egg hunts offer a good metaphor for this feast of all feasts because it involves a search to find something that is missing. For the disciples of Jesus, his body is missing and though they were confused and uncertain what it all meant, they began to see with new eyes sparked by their profound faith in Jesus.
As Pope Francis prayed in Evangelii Gaudium, so I pray that we may embrace a new enthusiasm “born of the resurrection, that we may bring to all the Gospel of life which triumphs over death. Give us a holy courage to seek new paths, that the gift of unfading beauty may reach every man and woman (#288).”
Have a Blessed and Holy Easter season!
With peace in the blood of Christ,
Joseph Nassal, C.PP.S.