Easter is here and the Church rejoices. Christ has risen from the dead. It is a time of feasting, and rightly so, but the feasting should only point us to a deeper meaning and reality of Easter. Most importantly in the Church calendar, it is when God again intervened in the salvation history of humankind. Jesus suffered and died on the cross in order to redeem humankind from the bondage of sin.
Easter is a time of grace, a time of renewal, a time of transformation, and a time for growth. There are many who interpret Easter in only philosophical terms. Some have the tendency to theologize Easter to the extent that the practical meaning of Easter could be lost. Some, too, see Easter as shrouded in mystery. I would like to suggest that Easter has also very practical implications for us as Christians.
Though I do not intend to be too simplistic in my reflection, perhaps a short story might help to clarify my understanding of Easter in the practical sense.
A young man caught stealing was handed over to the shop owner. The shop owner asked the thief to give a satisfactory explanation for his behavior, otherwise, he would hand him over to the police. The young man explained how he had had to fend for himself for years because his family had deserted him. How often we make excuses for our actions and inactions!
The shop owner felt he would give the young man another chance. He invited the young man to come and live with him. The man, absolutely surprised, obliged. The shop owner sponsored the young man to learn a trade: carpentry.
As a world-renowned speaker, in an upcoming seminar, he was to give, the shop owner needed someone to build a podium. The young man built a podium and it was a masterpiece. Delegates to the seminar were attracted to the podium. The shop owner introduced the young man to the delegates, as many had asked of the designer and builder of the podium. There was a long-standing ovation for the builder of the podium.
So overwhelmed by the applause that he could not control his tears. “Never before have I done anything good and been appreciated for it,” he said. A sense of inner peace engulfed his soul and he resolved to put aside his wayward behaviors and live a new life. He went even further to share his experience with the gang to which he had previously belonged and admonished them to change.
Is this not an Easter? A dying to the old way of life and rising to a newness of life? Is this not growth, transformation, change, or resurrection? It certainly is a resurrection – a dying to the old way of life and a rising to new life in Christ – a metanoia, a change of mind, a change of heart, and indeed a change of behavior! Yes, this is Easter!
Let us make this Easter season a time of growth, a time of transformation, and a time when our attitudes and behaviors change to conform to those of Christ, a real resurrection. Let us share in the personal experience of the Risen Lord. For in so doing, we can live a life that will bring us fulfillment, soul-satisfying happiness, and inner freedom that surpasses all peace and defies description. Happy Easter to you!
This reflection for the Solemnity of Easter was written by Br. Bertrand Nee Wayoe, C.S.C., Fourth General Assistant. Br. Wayoe is originally from the Province of West Africa, where he served in a variety of ministries from Novice Master, to Vocation Director, to most recently Director of the Institute for Continuing Formation.