It is quite impossible to comprehend the range of emotions that the disciples of Jesus moved through over the days of his final suffering, crucifixion and resurrection. Such heights and depths of emotional trauma and joy cannot be imagined. They must be experienced, and such experience is the key to understanding the Easter event. Christian faith did begin with an actual and real historical event: God became human in Jesus (the Incarnation). In Jesus, God lived and breathed, he walked and worked. He loved and was loved. He was hated and suffered. Jesus was put to death as a criminal. Yes these were all actual historical events. We know this to be true since even the accounts of secular historians verify these happenings. But with the Easter event in which God raises Jesus from death, we celebrate Jesus Christ as a living and present event. Relationship with Jesus is available to us as a real and living contemporary intimacy.
What does this mean, to speak of Jesus as living and present: a ‘contemporary experience’? It means that Jesus is alive! This present reality is the heart of our faith – thanks be to God. Christian Faith is not applications and reflections from Jesus as a wise moral teacher. Such a misunderstanding would reduce Christianity to a moral and legal code for life. Very quickly this descends into oppressive moralism and rigid legalism. This is not the Catholic Faith! Instead Catholic faith proclaims that we are never alone. Jesus, is God-with-us. In every sacramental celebration we begin by acknowledging our need for Him. And, especially in our darkest moments, he gifts to us the light of morning: the hope of Easter dawning.
An Invitation: Nothing looks more dead than an egg. Yet this hard lifeless shell contains new life. As you share or savour Easter eggs take a moment to ponder and talk about the power of the symbol: Christ brings new life from the situations in life that seem most life-less.
Fr. John O’Connor