Recently, as I was making a seasonal home decor purchase, the cashier asked, “Do you celebrate Easter?” Although I was surprised to be asked this, I shouldn’t have been. Not everyone celebrates Easter, but I was proud that I could answer with a strong yes.
What I didn’t explain, however, is that Easter is not just a one-day celebration for me. After six weeks of Lent – examining my conscience and striving to change my heart for the better – I celebrate the resurrected Saviour and the momentous changes that event made for everyone. Easter reminds us that Christ enabled our souls to live beyond the grave, and this knowledge affects every day of our lives. True, Catholics celebrate an entire Easter season, which lasts for fifty days; however, what truly makes us Easter people is our daily closeness to God, rooted in the hope and promise of eternal life. Let us ponder what being Easter people looks like, on this side of heaven.
The world is full of sin and division. When we hear of Christ’s Passion, we are confronted with the evils of this world. It was humanity’s evil that created the need for Jesus’ birth; it was evil that brought about his crucifixion; it was evil that necessitated the resurrection for our redemption. As a human race, we need saving. Evil and sin are not new problems, but they certainly have not lessened in our time.
As Dr. Tim Gray stated in his April 4 Formed message, the moral code in the West is in darkness for many reasons, but one common thread through it all seems to be a distance from God. He said, “When people stray from God, what typically happens is that they end up in darkness – a moral darkness, a darkness from reality and truth.” People who don’t know God or choose to ignore God try to follow their own rules and their own standards. They follow their own path rather than seeking the path created for them, and their part in the puzzle of the common good. Living life as if we were in charge or as if it were all about us leads us into darkness when what we all long for is light.
Christ is that light. In his earthly ministry, it shone in his inclusive treatment of others, his tender mercy, and his healing touch. It shone most clearly in the sacrifice of the crucifixion and his glorious resurrection.
Believing in Christ and his resurrection is the starting point, but to be Easter people, our actions must be in sync with our beliefs. In truly seeking the light, we too must be inclusive and tolerant. We must show forgiveness and compassion. We are called to assist the broken through our listening ears, kind embrace, and generous assistance.
It may be hard to see through the darkness of our world, but the path of salvation has been illuminated for each of us to simply choose to follow. If we believe in and continually seek the Light, we will not only act the way Jesus did, but we will spread his positive energy to others.
As Dr. Gray stated, “No matter how dark the world gets, we can walk in the light of Christ and that should give us joy. It should give us hope. Even in the midst of a darkened world, we are to be a light. We are to reflect the light of Christ.”
The joy and hope of this light should not only be in our thoughts on Easter morning. Yes, we sing our alleluias and celebrate new life, but the gift of salvation is worthy of our attention every day.
Easter is our assurance that we have a chance to escape darkness. So, yes, I celebrate Easter. I decorate my house, I go to church, I eat delicious food, and I gather with loved ones on the actual feast day, but Easter has forever changed my heart’s path.
My prayer is that my actions will reflect the light of the One who brightens the darkness and will lead me Home. It shouldn’t take the purchase of an Easter decoration for someone to recognize that I am a Christian. My Easter joy should be apparent in my words and actions.