Alleluia! He is Risen! The Easter season has arrived. We have journeyed out of the harshness of Winter and Lent and into the newness of Spring and the Resurrection. He has saved us from our sins and ourselves. We rejoice and bask in the warmth of His glorious Resurrection!
See, I am doing something new
The completion of the Triduum ushers in the beginning of the Easter season, where we experience a joy and freshness, a celebration of the new life of the Resurrection. Dispersed throughout this glorious feast are the blooming of the budding flowers, the appearance of brightly-hued eggs, and the birth of the long-established Easter symbols of newborn chicks, lambs and bunnies, signs of rebirth and new life in Christ. It is a time of new beginnings. The prophet Isaiah, long before the birth of Christ foretold of his arrival and the novelty of the New Covenant: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the wilderness I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.” (Isaiah 43:18-1) St. Paul also exhorts us to put away the past and begin anew with the Risen Christ:“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Cor. 5:17)
The new thing he does is send his Son, crucified and now Resurrected to clear a path in the wilderness of our hard and restless hearts. Which new path should we embark upon this Easter season? Seeking the things of God rather than earthly things. Praying earnestly to know his will and to receive the grace to follow it. Holding before our eyes each day the transitory nature of this life and the promise of eternity. Striving at each moment to love him and others more each day. These are the goals and petitions we should have in mind: to realize the value of spiritual poverty, of dying to self, of service to others.
Love One Another
All of these actions stem from love. Love for Him; love for others. We must increase and expand our love in response to the supreme gift of his death and Resurrection. “Love is repaid by love alone.” (St. Therese of Lisieux) Because of original sin, we do not know how to love as we should. We receive the Creator’s love and learn to love him and others in return. “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins (1 Jn 4:10) When we are open to him, we allow his love to consume us and overflow to others. The “new thing” we can do this Easter is to be that vessel, running over to the ones around us who are hurting and in need.
Be Not Afraid
New beginnings can be daunting and disconcerting and Our Lord knew this when he revealed himself in his resurrected state. He prepared the women before appearing to them with the visit of an angel: “Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” (Matt. 28:5-6) Believe and do not fear, the angel exhorts!
Jesus instructs us in the same way throughout the gospels to be not afraid; rather, to be trusting, joyful, hopeful! So much did he desire for his followers to believe and rejoice that he appeared to them, spoke to them, and encouraged them: “Suddenly, without warning, Jesus stood before them and said, “Peace!” The women came up and embraced his feet and did him homage. At this Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and carry the news to my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, where they will see me.” Matt. 28:9-10
He is urging us today to go out into the world and spread his love and mercy, to bring about his reign among our suffering brothers and sisters. Let us rejoice today at Easter and gaze anew at him, resurrected in glory. Let us receive his divine love and mercy and go forth to spread it to the whole world!