Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection
Easter is all about a four-letter word. And we Christians are full of it – or, at least, we are supposed to be full of it. The four-letter word is LIFE – new life, whole life, abundant life, redeemed life, resurrected life! The purpose of life is not death, Easter says. The purpose of life is LIFE… a life that triumphs over death forever.
Celebrating Easter is the best thing that the Church can do because it is a celebration of all that is good, all that is true, and all that is beautiful. (Leonard Sweet) Easter is the greatest public service the Church can perform for the world today as it is struck by a pandemic. Why? Because it is the reality of Easter or Christ’s Resurrection that makes everything else we hope and aspire for possible.
Remember Jesus’ final words on the cross? “It is finished.” On Easter “It is finished” becomes “Now it begins.” Life begins for those choose to accept the truth of the Resurrection. But let me warn you, my dear sisters and brothers: If you are going to accept the truth of the Resurrection, you need to let it change you totally and radically.
That is the Easter choice. The problem for most of us is that we are not surprised or bewildered enough by Easter to realize we face a choice. Easter has somehow become just “part of the routines” of our lives. It is no longer shocking for us. Easter surely does make us reevaluate everything else we think we know, nor reassess the direction in life we are taking right now, nor question and challenge our values and priorities. And anyway, we are not sure we want to have everything in our lives changed – much less radically.
However, the fact is, we have a choice to make Easter relevant in our life – as individuals, as a family, as a parish community, as a Church, as a nation. Our Easter celebration must be translated into Resurrection living, that is moving beyond our doubts, confusions and fears and trusting that God, the Lord of Life, is giving us new life – allowing God to raise us from every kind of death we experience. Life begins anew for those who have an Easter heart. It is this Easter heart that the risen Christ offers us.
We should be a people, we should be a community, we should be a Church filled with people with Easter hearts. There are six ways we can say that we have an Easter heart.
An Easter heart is full of new life. An Easter heart is full of a new mission: the mission of bringing new life to those who experience various forms of death, the mission of creating new possibilities and new opportunities, the mission of making this world a better place to live in.
An Easter heart throws off the old burial clothes. We have to shred our shrouds that wrap what is decaying stinking and evil-smelling in us – be it a vile behavior, repugnant attitude, corrupt practice, loathsome conduct.
An Easter heart rolls rock. The first sign of the resurrection, as noted by a distraught Mary Magdalene, was that the rock had been rolled away from the entrance of Jesus’ tomb. We should be rock-rollers (take note, not rock-and-rollers) and offer a way out to those who remain in their tombs. We can roll away despair, and show a path to hope. We can roll away bitterness, and show a way to forgiveness.
An Easter heart is filled with passion. It makes resurrection happen, it makes miracles happen. It makes great and wonderful things happen, because it has the passion to share in the life and mission of Christ, the passion to bring the Good News to the poor, the passion for truth, justice and peace, the passion to be good and to do good to others.
An Easter heart is filled with laughter. The Resurrection is a testimony to the adage, “He who laughs last laughs best.” The Resurrection proved God has the last laugh. Those who thought they had triumphed over Jesus were soundly trumped by his triumph over death itself. We should learn to laugh more often. Learn to laugh more freely at yourself. Do not take yourself or your circumstance too seriously. Relax and know that God is with you.
An Easter heart will be a broken heart. The promise of Easter Sunday is not that your heart will not break. In fact, the promise of Easter is that if you love, your heart will break. For God so loved the world, God’s heart broke. The cross is a symbol of God’s broken heart. A broken heart is the price of love. to those who believe in him.
The best celebration and worship we can render to the Risen Lord is to have an Easter heart – full of new life, filled with passion – a heart broken with love and breaking for love.