Alleluia! Happy Easter! Reflections of a Roman Catholic Woman Priest
This is the real Easter, the rising of Jesus the Christ from the darkness of the tomb, and it never gets old. This is not bunnies and chicks and baskets of goodies although we love them. This is not the egg hunt. This is not new Easter clothes and sunrise services, or even joyful singing in the church. All these events and memories from childhood and years past are wonderful and our happy memories are a treasure. And yes, we should and do cherish them. But Easter challenges us to take hold of life in a new way each year. It challenges us to believe the unbelievable and embrace the living Christ-NOW. And so, we want to cherish more than memories of Easter past, we want to live Easter present. We want to LIVE!
My friend lost a beloved family member this year. It, and her responsibilities for burial, left her with the awful feeling:”everyone is gone now”. For the first time she felt too sad to host an Easter gathering for her nearby children and grandchildren. Her love and gratitude for them in her life was undiminished but her heart was too broken to “hide eggs and give out chocolate bunnies”. She hoped her children would understand. She was summoning the energy to attend to the burial in the near future. And so we talked about the new life of her family member and her hope of reunion with all her family some day. We talked about our stage of life in which so many loved family members and loved ones have gone before. We talked until we found the Alleluia represented on the card I gave her this Easter. It was the only Easter symbol she had up in the room. Bright and large letters on a black background. proclaiming “Alleluia!”- He Lives. As much as life was heavy for her just now she embraced the Christ who lives now, and the hope of the Resurrection for those gone before, and for us in our time. She could not give out Easter Bunnies, but the hope of the real Easter could still live in her heart.
Still another friend was down because significant others had moved away and the usual celebrations would not happen this year. Another was in pain with her health condition getting worse. While still another is cooking for all of her neighbors to celebrate Easter and another is throwing a party. Another friend is sharing his beautiful photography of nature with his friends. We each face life differently now. Many face this day without the joy it deeply represents. Yet, the hope of eternal life brings a peace beyond what words can say.
So, wherever this Easter finds you, may you find new life again in the truth of the Risen Christ!
In Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi of Easter 2021 he says:
“The Easter message speaks concisely of the event that gives us hope that does not disappoint: Jesus who was crucified is risen. It speaks to us not about angels or ghosts, but about a man, a man of flesh and bone,with a face and a name: Jesus. The Gospel testifies that this Jesus, crucified under Pontius Pilate for claiming he was the Christ, the Son of God, rose on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, just as he had foretold to his disciples. The crucified Jesus, none other, has risen from the dead. God, the Father raised Jesus….and now Jesus the Christ lives forever….The witnesses (in the Gospel of John Chapter 20) report an important detail: the risen Jesus bears the marks of the wounds in his hands,feet and side. These wounds are the everlasting seal of his love for us. All those who experience painful trial in body or spirit can find refuge in these wounds and, through them, receive the grace of the hope that does not disappoint.”
You might like to read some of my past Easter reflections- for example:
or any in judyabl.blog that you find under Easter with the Search function
May God bless you with hope and life this Easter Sunday!
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP,
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee-Good Shepherd Ministries, Fort Myers, Florida