by Fr. Joe Nassal, C.PP.S.
CrucifixBarbara Johnson said, “We’re Easter people living in a Good Friday world.” Reflecting on this reality which seems even more true this year than most, Annie Lamott writes, “I don’t have the right personality for Good Friday: I’d like to skip ahead to the resurrection. In fact, I’d like to skip ahead to the resurrection vision of one of our kids in our Sunday school who drew a picture of the Easter Bunny outside the tomb: everlasting life and a basket full of chocolates. Now you’re talking!”
Most of us would probably hurdle the cross and jump right to the empty tomb. But without dying, there would be no point in rising. Without darkness, we would never appreciate the light. Without a long, harsh winter, we would not welcome the warm breezes of spring. Without death, there would be no need for resurrection. As Paul reminds us at the Easter Vigil, “Are you not aware that we who were baptized in Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”
Since all of us will die eventually and because all of us experience more than a few deaths in the sheer experience of living, where does the resurrection find its home in our hearts this year? What needs to die for something new to rise in our lives? In what relationship do we need resurrection? What do we need to let go of to be the new creation Christ calls us to be?
Again, Paul reminds us, “We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.” This is the challenge of Easter: to be “dead to sin” and to “live for God in Christ Jesus” by letting go of whatever keeps us from being that new person the Risen Christ creates in us.
During this Easter season, God desires to lift from our hearts whatever weighs us down or keeps us imprisoned in the darkness of fear or despair. May we embrace the challenge of being an Easter people by praying for the grace to let go of whatever resentment or grudges or grief or death or despair we cling to, and embrace the truth of who we are: children of a living and loving God, made in the divine image and likeness and called to be a new creation in the Risen Christ.