Happy Easter! Bonne fête de Pâques! Maligayang pasko ng Pagkabuhay! Buona Pasqua! ¡Felices Pascuas de la Resurrección! Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych! !فصح سعيد
No matter what the language, as Church we arrive yet again at the celebration of our raison d’être: Christ’s resurrection from the dead. For the early Christians, this act of faith meant everything. It affected their lives, the way they thought, the way they treated others. It is still so hard for me to grasp. The resurrection was God’s affirmation of everything that Jesus of Nazareth said and did. The religious authorities and the Romans thought they could end the movement that had been growing up around Jesus by killing him. Instead, the resurrection caused the number of followers to grow. It was God’s statement that death is not the final word. God is a God of life.
Many of us, myself included, did some kind of penance during Lent, by giving up something we like, or adding a spiritual practice. So, for us, Easter becomes a conscious time of abundance, a time of celebration rather than sacrifice, of indulgence instead of austerity. When I was a child, it was a time when we got new clothes. Even today, children today hunt for eggs on Easter. We celebrate. We eat chocolate.
For many others, Christian or not, Easter is just another day. Life goes on just like it did before. Nothing is different. And for perhaps the majority of people on the earth, whether Christian or not, nothing really can change. If you live near the starvation level, you usually have neither the option of giving something up during Lent, nor of adding something to celebrate Easter. For the Christians of Syria, of Iraq, of Yemen, and so many other places torn by war and terrorism, there is only the struggle to stay alive. Christians in Egypt right now are mourning those killed by bombings on Palm Sunday. Yet somehow, some way, Easter says that God is in control, and that life wins out over death. I invite you to let life affect you—and to remember in prayer those for whom life and celebration is a luxury.
And in our rejoicing, I invite you to celebrate with Kevin Mannara and all the Basilians. On Friday of Easter week, in Toronto, Kevin will profess his final vows in the Congregation, and then be ordained as a deacon on Saturday. When he returns among us later in the month, he will be Deacon Kevin! We pray that God fill him and all those he will serve with blessings of new life.