By: Fr. John Jasica
IT’S NOT JUST ONE WEEKEND
Jesus is risen!!! Let us rejoice and be glad for our salvation has been fulfilled!! Sin and death have no dominion in our lives if we choose Christ each day!!
As begin our 50 days of celebration for the Easter season, we need to remember that it is not limited to just one weekend. The powerful liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter weekend call us back to the immense grace and love given to us not just over 2000 years ago, but today, in the midst of our lives here. Easter is not just one weekend but a way of life that should make us different—a sign of a better way to live our lives.
THE EASTER PATH
What changes for us if we truly embrace the gift and grace of Easter? We celebrate the liturgical seasons year in and year out not to just replay what happened in the past but to draw closer and closer to the truth of God’s everlasting love that gave us the gift of eternal life. Over the many Easter seasons of our lives we strive to draw closer and closer to that Easter truth—that we live forever because of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. He paid the ultimate price for our salvation which beckons us to live differently—on an Easter path of grace that is not just for ourselves, but for all those around us. How do we live on this different path today? Does anyone notice?
(1) RESILIENT JOY
Easter is the celebration of eternal life that begins for us even now. We do not have to wait until our earthly lives are over. The EASTER PATH is filled with a resilient joy because it is found deep within our hearts. It is rooted in the fact that Jesus died and rose again showing us that there is nothing that can stand in the way of His love. His love totally transforms us and helps us become fully who God has made us to be. Nothing can take away this powerful joy. I have seen this joy in so many people.
This resilient joy doesn’t mean we are happy all the time—but it means that despite the challenges, struggles and disappointments, God’s love carries us through. We never have to be afraid of what life brings us as long as we remember this powerful love that God has given to us through Christ. Living our faith, being part of the parish community and making room for God in daily prayer keeps us close to that joy of Christ. If we are not attentive and keep our spiritual lives strong, that grace filled joy can be buried underneath fear, regret, selfishness and sin. Resilient joy not only inspires and strengthens us, but also supports others.
(2) A LIFE OF SERVICE
The gift of Easter shows us the ultimate price and pathway of a follower of Jesus. We are called to give up our lives for others. The purest joy and fulfillment of our lives is not to consume or to acquire things for ourselves but to give ourselves away to those in need. This is not a new concept by any means but Easter makes us aware of it more and more. It comes before us this season to be embraced once again because we all know how our sacrifices and service towards others changes lives.
The world is a very difficult place in the best of times. Our time needs more active and engaged disciples who show through their actions and deeds another path of life. It is up to us to make the choice to serve others and not ourselves—to show that there is something much better and more in life. The Easter season transitions from the resurrection to Pentecost, when the Lord sends out His disciples to spread the Good News. This is most powerfully done by the way we live for others. How will you serve as a sign of hope and love in our world? Where is the Lord calling you to service today? How can Jesus help us to be Him?
(3) CHRIST AS COMPANION
We do not embark on this journey alone. We as a parish community support one another to be a sign of life in this world. Yet we also need to allow Christ to walk with us as our companion and guide. We cannot do anything without Him. Jesus needs to become our friend, guide, master and teacher. There is so much for us to learn as we walk the EASTER PATH that we need constant support.
Jesus did not leave the Apostles without His presence and guidance. On the day of the resurrection He gave them the Holy Spirit and on Holy Thursday instituted the Eucharist as food for the journey. We too have been given the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist as true presences of Christ along the path—which is most certainly challenging and difficult. Being Christ in our world today is never easy but once again this Easter season reminds us that love conquers all things. If we love Christ and others we are willing to endure anything.
WE JOURNEY TOGETHER
Our parish community is at the heart of our faith. This is where we encounter Christ in the gift of the sacraments and one another. Despite the challenges of our times we gather in so many different ways to deepen our love for Jesus and together, be a sign of light, love and joy in our world. There is a much better way to live our lives—the EASTER PATH shows us the path of Christ. Happy Easter everyone!!