For the first time in two years, Easter feels like Resurrection! As we emerge from the pandemic to spring flowers, visits with family and friends, and something more like the life we knew, our everyday lives offer a material counterpart to the joy we experience in our annual celebration of the rising from the dead of Jesus Christ.
Of course, before we reach Easter, we must pass through Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. The liturgies are the most solemn of the liturgical year, appropriately so, as they draw us to reflect on the suffering of Christ through betrayal, torture, the procession to Calvary and death on the cross. Unfortunately, it is all too easy this year to empathize with Christ’s Passion as we struggle to deal with such global tragedies as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the lingering damage to our economies and health-care systems inflicted by Covid-19 and the ever-present scourge of climate change.
We, too, have suffered. Yet many have followed in the footsteps of Jesus; as He has carried us through our suffering, they have reached out to help those in need, to pray for them to walk with them in their own agony. Such is the nature of Lent, and this particular Lenten season has seemed very long indeed.
This day, however, we commemorate God’s sign that He has kept faith with us through all our challenges. With the empty tomb, we recall Jesus’ triumph over death, the renewal of hope and the ultimate joy in knowing that our existence doesn’t end here on this earth.
With Easter, for a brief shining moment, we recognize all the signs of rebirth — the first sprouts of the spring flowers, the buds on the trees, the return of the birds from their winter havens, the appearance of the bees hunting for those first blossoms, the increasing warmth of the sun, even the rain with its promise of nourishment for all life on the planet. All of these individual acts of renewal point to the cosmic promise signified by the Resurrection of Christ. We are saved!
To say “Christ is Risen!” is, therefore, a confirmation of the joy in our hearts and our renewed commitment to our own life of faith. And not only is it a matter of words; our response should also be apparent in our own actions to support each other and our planet. In such deeds do we express our own confirmation, our own “Amen” to God’s overflowing and never-ending love.
Joseph Sinasac is Publishing Director at Novalis. He has been involved with religious communications for more than 40 years as an author, journalist, editor and TV and radio commentator on all things Catholic. He continues to be excited by the commitment and passion of the Catholics he meets in his daily work.