This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
At last, we have completed our 40 Lenten days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. For myself, I can finally eat dessert and sweets again, and I no longer have to endure the hunger pains of my Friday fast. We also spent time in Lent examining the complexity and dark rooms of our conscience to see where we are missing the mark of excellence, that we humbly know deep inside is our calling.
Lent has also been a time to recognize that the struggles of life remind us we’re still on the other side of Paradise with stresses of exams, complexities of relationships, difficulties of forgiveness, worries of health and employment, pains of medical procedures and loss of loved ones, challenges of extreme climate, and craziness of politics and the world.
And so today is a glorious day to celebrate our triumph with Christ. By ourselves, we humbly know we cannot achieve the excellence and escape darkness, but with Christ, we know we are to be winners of the race to salvation. We can break through the doors to Paradise. So we can truly rejoice and be glad for the Lord has made this triumphant holy day for us.
Our Lord endured the chaos of his passion and death, but God once again brings order out of chaos by raising Jesus from the dead. Easter is when we celebrate new baptisms and renew our own baptism that grafted us onto Christ, so we can join Christ in his glorious resurrection, bringing order out of the chaos of our lives.
In a sense, today is like being on the Mount of Transfiguration, recognizing Jesus as truly exalted Lord and not just a suffering servant. Like Peter, we too want to stay here, build some tents and rejoice. After all, who wants to descend down the mountain of Easter to face stresses of final exams, challenges of health, brokenness of relationships, or fear of the future.
However descend we must because Monday comes. And even though the Church keeps Easter going for an octave (eight days), society thrusts us back into our trials and chains. But, the beauty of our 40 days of Lent leading to Easter is we once again are reminded we are an Easter people, not for one day, but for eternity. To ingrain this idea, our Church has us celebrate and exercise the Easter Season for 50 days. So, make sure to buy a 50-day supply of ½ priced chocolate bunnies and jellybeans tomorrow to keep the celebration going. Splurge on a potted flowering plant to remind yourself of new life and your internal beauty in the eyes of God.
Now is the time to be dormant no more, but to burst open with beauty and the aroma of life. We descend the mountain of Easter, but this time with confidence that this dark valley of tears, this blighted desert of crosses are but an illusion, a mirage compared to the reality that we belong to Christ and that we carry the light of Christ with us always. Let us, there-fore, be Easter for the world. Happy Easter! – Fr. Ivan