Halleluiah !!! Christ is risen from the dead !!! We need to take time to celebrate and not rush to get back to “life as usual”. Easter is too much to limit to a one day celebration, so the church gives us the octave of Easter….8 days of Easter Sundays …. a time of great celebration. How should we be celebrating? Well, I think our celebration should take many forms.
Certainly we should first focus on the miracle of Easter and ponder all the stories surrounding Christ’s resurrection. I love the recounting of the first moments of Christ’s resurrection. Mary Magdalene recognizing Jesus when he called her by name.…”Mary”. “She turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo’ni!” (John 20:11-16) Yikes, prior to that she thought he was the gardener …. woe, talk about a monumental mix-up. Every day we will be hearing another great story of the resurrection. Let’s ponder each one and allow ourselves to be captured by the majesty and humility of God…. Jesus, so very human and yet God. Incredible.
I think the Lord also wants us to celebrate as we would for a great banquet… great meals, fine wine, plenty of goodies… maybe even Easter Baskets. I recall Easter mornings when the kids were young . For a number of years we would go to a 5:00am sunrise Mass at the late Fr. John Demkovich’s parish in Patterson. We would leave in the dark… everyone dressed up . As we drove down the parkway I would mention that “some strange things are happening …there’s rumors that Jesus is not in the tomb…what’s going on…… everyone’s eyeballs were pretty big…filled with wonder”. We would arrive to the beautifully decorated Church of the Assumption with bright lights and celebrate the mass of the resurrection. It was great.
When we got home, we would begin the search for the hidden Easter Baskets. I would hand out the clues starting with the youngest. “ Don’t let your love for Jesus grow c-o-o-o-l-d” …. hmmmm, where could it be… yes , down on the freezer. Another one was “Sing a joyful noise unto the Lord”…. you got it…by the piano. “Jesus wassssshed your sins away”….. head for the washing machine. One of the classics was, “may your love for Jesus always be hoooootttt”….. let’s see, the stove—no …. the dryer- no…. the oven? YES. As our son David raced to the oven , we heard a cry of anguish….” hey my chocolate is melted”. Yes, the oven had been turned on by mistake and the basket was a big chocolaty mess. I have to say, he handled it pretty well…disappointed, but not distraught. Fortunately we had a large package of Andes Thin Mints which we gave to Dave… he wasn’t thrilled. Since we all felt sorry for him, feeling a bit guilty, we generously shared our candy with him, so it worked out pretty well. In truth I think Dave “milked” this event for many years…perhaps even until today…. “hey Dave, want one of my chocolate marshmallow eggs?”
Well, I pray that our souls soar beyond the Easter eggs into the heavenlies. May we raise our gaze into the reality of heaven. Like Cleopas on the road to Emmaus, may our hearts burn within us.(Luke 24:31-32) …. burning with wonder and hope and joy and excitement. Jesus is risen from the dead. We don’t have to die in our sins. This is the GOOD NEWS.