Pastoral Thought

4-21-19

 

            Well, I have celebrated many Easters. I keep looking for a way to express what Easter is. As someone who likes gardens and hands-in-the-earth, and has a soft spot for nature and the flowers that grow wild, I find the outward aspect of Easter very dear—the renewal of the earth, in crocuses, violets, daffodils, cherry blossoms, bluebells, dogwoods, and more….

            Yet all this rebirth-of-the-earth along with new finery and Easter eggs is the external face of Easter. At the heart of Easter is the Paschal Mystery:  the death-and-resurrection of Jesus. These words of St. Paul say it best:  “I want to know Christ, and the power flowing from his resurrection; likewise to share in his sufferings that I may be formed into the pattern of his death; in this way I hope to arrive at Resurrection from the dead.”

            This pattern of dying-and-rising is the pattern of the Christian’s life; and it is at the heart of Easter faith. As we get older, knowing this becomes less fearsome and more joyful. “Dying” in the sense of giving over my self-centered desires in order to love the other with my whole heart becomes  less a contradiction and more an affirmation of who I am.

            The person and priest who I am, at this point in life, is more grateful than ever before, that I am called by Jesus Christ to witness and be part of the dyings and risings of His people, in all the ways this happens. There seems much less in this life to be afraid of, and so much more reason for hope.

            The Easter Season lasts fifty days! Every Sunday is Easter! The funeral celebration of a faithful Christian is an Easter!  All these look forward to the “Eighth Day” - the Day that has no end. Let’s observe these Fifty Days in joy and hope.

Father John Hynes